Despite being World's largest Arms importer, Indian General still crying for more funds

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Despite being World's largest Arms importer, Indian General still crying for more funds

NEW DELHI - It is not Pakistan’s army alone but the China-Pakistan axis that has become the worry for Indian military. The good relationship between China and Pakistan is not a new development, but what is new is that India’s relations with China has reached a new low in the past two years, India today has reported.

For the first time since 1970s, India is seriously worried over the possibility of armed conflict with China. The Modi government’s signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US, boycotting of China’s Belt and Road Forum (BRF) meeting and whimsical decision for an unnecessary standoff at Doklam have not only made China an open enemy, but have also given incentives to Beijing to not bond further with Islamabad as well as other key neighbors of India.

With achieving rapid economic development, China has not only become almost self-sufficient in producing its own weapons, but also according to the SIPRI data, it has become world’s fifth-largest arms exporter.

Its arms export has increased by 38 per cent in the past five years compared to the previous period. Moreover, to add to India’s vulnerabilities, the major importers of Chinese arms are countries in India’s neighborhood.

India’s Army chief General Bipin Rawat is not someone who usually praises China. However, while speaking at a function in Delhi on March 13, he applauded Beijing's approach of simultaneously enhancing its military prowess with its rapid economic growth.

His argument was India should take same approach and increase its military expenditure to provide an enabling environment for the economic growth.

The vice chief of Army Staff has also told a parliamentary panel that this year’s Budget allocation is inadequate for the basic needs of the armed forces. It is understandable when the Army asks for more resources, however, when General Rawat makes comparisons with China he should know that while China spends for its military 1.9 per cent of its gross domestic products (GDP), India spends 2.5 per cent of its GDP.

India’s military expenditure of 2.5 per cent of the GDP is also higher than the global average, which is equivalent to 2.2 per cent of the global GDP.

General Rawat only sees that India link>>spends on military $55 billion while China spends $225 billion. However, he ignores that fact that India’s GDP is US 2.2 trillion and China’s GDP has reached to $11.2 trillion.

While India’s Army generals are complaining about the Budget allocated to its military, the highly reputed Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released the latest data on the volume of international transfers of major weapons.

According to SIPRI data, India was the largest importer of major arms in the past five years, single-handedly buying 12 per cent of the global total.

India’s arms import has increased 24 per cent in the past five years compared with previous five years. American manufactures are the major beneficiaries of this increased arms import. In the past five years, India’s arms imports from the US has increased more than five times. While India’s arms import has increased substantially, the arms imports of Pakistan, with whom India has fought most of its wars since independence, has decreased by 36 per cent. So, why does the Indian Army <link> still complain over the allocated Budget to the military?

In spite of a powerful section of the Indian media always highlighting the country’s slow and tedious process to buy arms from foreign manufacturers, India has been the largest arms purchaser in the world not only for the past five years, but also from the beginning of this century.

Since 2000, according to SIPRI data, India has brought arms worth $46.8 billion compared with China’s $35 billion. Pakistan’s buying of any foreign military hardware becomes a sensational news in India. However, since 2000, Pakistan’s total purchase of arms from foreign market is only $14.4 billion.