ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan’s Defense Budget In The South Asian Region – OpEd

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Montesquieu was a sociologist and political scientist of the eighteen century who believes that geographical location of an area will have implications for its habitants. Pakistan is the country located in the geographical line with having security challenges and a chronic crisis in its neighbour. 

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Newly independent countries at the end of World War II had no option but to go under the umbrella of one of the global power to safeguard their national interest. Being a colony of British’s, Pakistan naturally adopted US camp. Soon after independence Pakistan faugh war of 1948 with India and then war of 1965 and 1971. Kashmir remained the bone of contention between bot the neighbours resulted in wars and then ultimately an unstoppable strategic battle between both the countries.  

Russian invasion of Afghanistan and later US “War on Terror” and its attack on Afghanistan once again brought instability in the region. In August 2021, US and NATO forces left Afghanistan yet the country is suffering at the hands of lack of resources and crisis of governance with non-actors like TTP. 

South Asian region is a closely located region with porous border where insurgency travels and incidents of one country directly affects others. In this situation, Pakistan have been looking to get out from the label of security state to a normal state but repeated  incidents of anarchy  and security challenges in region does not allow Pakistan to do so. On Eastern side, Pakistan has India with a chronic Kashmir conflict and a history of wars. On Western side, Pakistan has Afghanistan which is struggling to survive on its own, non-state actors in Afghanistan remained a constant threat for Pakistan. Pakistan is facing attacks from the terrorists operating from the other side of border in its area of erstwhile FATA and Afghanistan. During this scenario, Pakistan Army fenced porous Afghan border through its resources to tackle the issue of cross border infiltration from Afghanistan. 

Gabriel Almond a political scientist has said that the States are arranged in such a paradoxical order that willingly or unwillingly for their survival, they have to interact with each other. Pakistan in this situation is compelled to adopt a strategic outlook while looking into the strategic scenario of the region. Strategic gestures and stereotyping is necessary to deal and to hold a position to defend the national interest. Latest military trainings and equipment, research and experimentation, interaction with the allies and formation of new allies is the need for Pakistan. This is a constant process which requires proper expenditure yet Pakistan Armed forces are managing this within their limited resources. 

Pakistan have been a weak economy over the recent years, corona pandemic, international conflicts i.e Ukraine war, global inflation and internal political instability has made it difficult for Pakistan to meet the requirement. Pakistan Armed forces has been successfully fulfilling their responsibilities in defending the country and dealing the pandemics within their limited resources. 

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On the other hand, India has a defence budget of $ 70 billion and Pakistan carries a defence budget of $ 11 billion, this depicts the huge difference in the amount of budget which India spends as compared to Pakistan.  It is a fact that when it comes on spending on an individual soldier, India spends four times more as compared to Pakistan. On a single soldier, Pakistan spends around $ 13 thousand while India spends $ 42 thousand. India is third on annual defence expenditure in the World and this defense budget of India is seven times more than Pakistan. It has also been a challenge for Pakistan that India remained the second biggest importer of weapons between 2016-20. 

Despite of constant increase in Indian budget and the constant challenges of the threats, Pakistan Army has not increased its budget in the last two years. Strategic needs of country were fulfilled through the available resources. Despite of economic difficulties, Armed forces of Pakistan are continuing their operational capabilities against terrorism and adoring themselves with the modern strategic gadgets from the available resources.

Jawad Ahmed is an Islamabad based researcher with having interest in Politics, Bilateralism and Strategic Studies. Can be reached at [email protected]

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