The arms race did not end after the collapse of the Soviet Union. India and Pakistan, a stone’s throw away from each other, continue to demonstrate the relevancy of maintaining a self-destructive arsenal of weapons to protect each of their interests in the region. These countries are spending a large chunk of their fiscal budget procuring weapons and bolstering up their military in a near-constant tension every day.
Military spending in this region is the highest, with each respective government gearing towards armageddon as the years go by. There seems to be a bottomless pocket for billions spent to upgrade and maintain a costly military ready to spring into combat in an instant. It looks as if finance is never a problem for both of this once united countries. Their spending now borders on the absurd as each of them throw away bigger and bigger budget on each passing year showing to the other side its military might.
For instance, Pakistan spent $300 billion during 2008-2009 upgrading its defense capabilities. The following year saw around $350 billion spent on defense. That was never enough though. Before the closing of that year, the country added another $35 billion due to the demands of the military chiefs. That makes a staggering amount of nearly $400 billion spent on military upgrades. In a country plagued by poverty and growing terrorism, this kind of spending is insane.
On the other side of the sub-continent saw the same crazy allocation of resources. India does not want to just allow its neighbor get the upper hand. Last year saw the biggest deal between India and the US when the former acquired about 10 C-17 Globemaster-IIIs. These giant strategic birds cost around $2.2 billion. Each of these aircraft can carry 170,000 pounds in payload and can transport both tanks and men for over 2000 miles. Since it can be refueled in mid-air, its reach is only limited by pilot fatigue. Aside from this purchase, India also bought 8 Boeing P8l aircraft for long-range over-the-water surveillance and reconnaissance. Added to these are 6 C-130Js, also known as Super Hercules, to beef up India’s lift capability but at a cost of another $1 billion in taxpayer’s money. Together with this deal was the $1 billion purchase of 197 Eurocopters for light utility missions and the $1.5 billion budget for 6 Airbus-330 MRTT used as mid-air refueling planes. The spending does not end there as the country plans to purchase another 126 medium multi-role fighters for the Indian Air Force that can go around$10.4 billion. India procures its military hardware from all over–the US, Russia, Brazil, Europe, even Israel.
With over 1.3 million military personnel on active duty anytime, India is considered one of the largest standing army in the world. Pakistan, obviously, does not want to be left out as it tries to keep pace by allocating large amount of resources on military defense. Although both countries are relatively young, their bitter history was created out of a bloody struggle with each other. Politics news in the region can only say too much as both of these nuclear powers engages in countless duels over the years. Unfortunately, both of these countries are also embroiled in poor economic instability and extreme poverty. Their costly military spending can bring both of them nowhere.