Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has presented the 2012-13 budget to Lok Sabha, including a defence component of Ind Rs 1.93 trillion, or $40 billion, which is up 17 percent on the previous year, and which once again indicates definitively India’s war-mongering, and attempts to ignite an arms race in the region. This massive increase follows a 12 percent increase last year over the previous one. The excuse being proferred by the Indian establishment is that China is now the focus of its military, and the money indicates the acquisition by all the forces of expensive new equipment. India is already known as one of the biggest importers of military hardware, and is not only armed with nuclear weapons, but has also switched its loyalties from Russia to the USA, and is willing to act as its regional counterweight against China. It is because of this that it is busy arming itself to the teeth.

However, India should realize that it may well have fought both China and Pakistan, but it has fought three wars with Pakistan, and only one with China. Because of this, increase in defence spending by India cannot be ignored by Pakistan, particularly when its peace overtures have been met with a firm rebuff, even when instigated by India’s new friend, the USA. It has refused to talk about the core issue of Kashmir. India’s rulers should also have mercy on the hundreds of millions of poor people in the country, and reduce its defence expenditure by resolving regional disputes it has, with the elimination of the Kashmir issue to end end the oldest of the problems, and probably the most complex.

Pakistan does not want to indulge in an arms race, but India’s warlike preparations cannot be ignored, especially when it is busy stirring trouble wherever it can, particularly in Balochistan, to which it was given access by the USA through Afghanistan. Thus if Pakistan was to give an increase in defence expenditure this year, it would be justified. At the same time, the government must ensure that conventional deterrence is maintained, and that so is nuclear. That will mean obtaining expensive weapons systems from abroad. That must be done, and at the same time, indigenous defence production capability developed, to avoid the preconditions that accompany imported arms. Pakistan must remember that most of the countries that might sell it weapons already look upon India as a vast market, and are willing to encourage its military spending extravagance in the hope of contracts being thrown their way.