Pakistan unlikely to change India-specific defence spending

June 8th, 2009 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Islamabad, June 8 (IANS) Pointing to the acquisition of modern weapons and systems by its eastern neighbour, Pakistan says it is unable to change its India-specific pattern of defence spending.
“If you are suggesting that we should take something out of here and put it in another box that would not be a wise strategy. War on terror does require resources, but it should not be at the cost of something else,” Dawn Monday quoted chief military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas as saying.

“Take the example of (India’s) offensive aircraft, take the example of AWACS (airborne warning and control systems), take the example of the air-to-air refuelling system,” Abbas pointed out. ”

“Then, (look at India’s) tanks divisions and mechanised forces and their latest offensive doctrine of cold start strategy. All these things are Pakistan-specific,” he maintained.

Maintaining a “threshold has been crossed” with the Mumbai terror attacks, the Indian government Feb 16 hiked the allocation for defence by 34 percent to Rs.141,703 crore (Rs.1.417 trillion/$29.8 billion) in the interim budget for 2009-10 that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee presented in the Lok Sabha.

Mukherjee had presented the budget on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was holding the portfolio and who was recuperating in hospital. In his new avtar as finance minister, Mukherjee is likely to present the full budget for the fiscal on July 3.

According to Abbas, the increase in Indian defence spending was Pakistan-specific.

“Pakistan usually makes its defence allocations with the objective of maintaining certain conventional parity with India,” Dawn noted.

The Pakistani government will present its second budget to the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, on June 13 for fiscal 2009-10 beginning July 1.

In a departure from the past, the government had last year presented some details of the defence budget in parliament. It originally allocated Rs.297 billion for defence and raised it to Rs.310 billion.

Dawn quoted sources in the finance ministry as saying the defence allocation for the next fiscal might go up to Rs.342 billion.

Meanwhile, well-known nuclear physicist and defence analyst Pervez Hoodbouy of the Quaid-i-Azam University has warned Pakistan against following India in increasing its defence budget.

“Our threat comes from the people within Pakistan. Our threat is inherent. We should not spend it on buying more aircraft, more tanks or more submarines,” he maintained.

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