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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

India Turns Away From Pakistan

June 1, 2009

Strategy Page
May 29, 2009

Indian military leaders now consider China their
major military threat, rather than Pakistan.
Several different trends brought this about.
First, China is modernizing their armed forces at
a rapid rate. This means a navy that is capable
of operating in the Indian ocean, and is
obtaining bases in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, to
better keep an eye on the sea lanes that supply
most of the oil, and many other natural
resources, needed by the booming Chinese economy.

China and India share a common border, but it's
high in the Himalayan mountains. Although India
lost several border skirmishes to Chinese troops
along that border in the 1960s, China was never
considered a real threat. That's because there
were no Chinese railroads leading to their side
of the Himalayan frontier. With only a few roads
leading into Tibet, from China proper, the
Chinese could never launch a major offensive
across the Himalayan border. That changed three
years ago when China completed a railroad into Tibet.

So China is now a threat from all sides. India is
particularly annoyed at China intruding into the
waters surrounding India. It's not called the
Indian Ocean for nothing, and the Indians
consider these waters sacrosanct. Chinese naval power is not welcome.

And then there is the declining threat from
Pakistan. First of all, both countries are
finally, after decades of bickering and shooting,
talking peace together. But most important is the
realization that the Pakistanis are much less of
a military threat than Indian realized. This
became known last year when, for the first time
in over four decades, Pakistan released information on its defense spending.

The current year's Pakistani budget was $4.1
billion. That figure explains why this data has
been kept secret for so long. That's because
Pakistan's long time arch-enemy, and neighbor,
India was increasing its defense budget by nearly
50 percent, to $39 billion. The difference should
be no surprise. India has six times the
population (at 1.1 billion) and 7.5 times the GDP
($1.1 trillion compared to $145 billion). India's
economy has been booming for over a decade, while Pakistan's largely stagnates.

  This military spending disparity was long
suspected, even with all the secrecy. The GDP
differences were well known, as were the details
of how the two forces were equipped. This, of
course, is why Pakistan put so much effort into
developing nuclear weapons. Only this would
provide a credible defense against a militarily
superior India. Pakistan has been spending about
percent of GDP on defense, while India was long
spending two percent (the proposed increase will
make it three percent). The global average is about 2.5 percent.

China has long been a principal weapons supplier
to Pakistan, which Russia supplied India.
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