Be it war or peace, military sales to boost in South Asia
The recent terrorist attack on the Indian Army’s Uri base in north Kashmir has raised a number of questions and speculations. The tension triggered after the Pathankot attack earlier in January has now materialised in one of the deadliest attacks that killed 17 Indian soldiers. As expressions of anger go on to different extents, the country is still mulling over options to respond. Experts are divided on whether the country should proceed with an open military attack or act diplomatically.
However, whether India decides to declare war or remain calm, the movement of new military arsenals to South Asia will flourish. The existing tension between the neighbors has come at the right time for arms vendors and lobbyists to push more military proposals further. Currently, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report, India remains the world’s largest arms importer. India’s arms import is currently three times greater than those of China and Pakistan, accounting for 14% of the global imports during 2011-2015. While China ranks second in the list, Pakistan stands at fourth after Australia.
India is likely to sign a $8.9 bn deal later this week to purchase 36 new Rafale fighter jets made by France’s Dassault Aviation, in a bid to renovate the country’s aviation force. As reported by Bloomberg, the contract would be soon signed by India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. The new purchase is seen as move to compete with its long time rivalries such as Pakistan and China.
Beyond the Rafale deal, the current security circumstances are definitely going to increases defence spending and boost military modernization. The country now holds proposals to purchase anti-tank missiles, maritime patrol aircraft, infantry combat vehicles, helicopters, assault rifles and submarines. Various reports have revealed that Indian Government has decided to acquire 500 choppers, 12 submarines and 200 jet fighters in coming 10 years, The TeCake recently reported. A report sourced from Defense Ministry stated that the country will see a development between 5 to 9 percent every year in the military sector.
On the other side, anticipating counter moves from India, Pakistan will also see a hike in military purchases. Pakistan now remains the largest importer of arms from China, after buying huge amount of military equipment to strengthen its border force. Recently, Pakistan Navy announced the decision to buy eight modified diesel-electric attack submarines from China. This biggest arms export deal between the countries will see the delivery of submarines in the next 12 years.
Meanwhile, in the recent past, the US has emerged as an influencing figure in the region’s geopolitics. According to SIPRI report, India remains the 7th largest importer of arms from the US, which controls around 33% arms exports worldwide. In addition to the arms sales, the US also invests in the regions’ military sector through grants and loans. Surprisingly, the US State Department’s 2017 budget is expected to provide $265million to Pakistan as part of its Foreign Military Financing.