Guns and butter – Govt must review its military spending

Source: The post is based on the article “Guns and butter – Govt must review its military spending” published in Business Standard on 20th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – International Relation

Relevance: India and China border issue

News: The Tawang clash between the Indian Army and Chinese PLA has been a matter of debate. The clash also highlights the lacunae of the Indian military.

What is the present condition of the Indian Army?

The Indian military has been the subject of under-investment.

Budgets are mainly set aside for infrastructure and welfare spending whereas the defence budget is merely at 2.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Even out of 2.5 percent, the vast amount is spent on personnel costs, especially on pensions and very little is spent on capital spending.

Therefore, the Indian armed forces have not been modernized up to the expectations.

This is why the government is also quiet on the current Tawang clash and it hopes that India-China relationship can be managed without any further confrontation.

What is the way ahead?

China prefers war whereas India has been trying to solve the issue diplomatically and with dialogues but this won’t work for a longer period of time. India should also be ready to face the clash with China.

For this, the government will have to start re-investing in security and prioritising modernisation of the military in its Budget allocation.

Moreover, India has only one-fifth the per capita income of China. Therefore, the government needs a smart strategy and spending choices to deal with the current situation.

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