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SOURCE: SOURABH KUMAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

India is today faced not only by repeated threats by Pakistan, but also has a much larger concern with a Huge Nuclear armed bully sitting in its North and claiming India’s territory. Not only could an escalation with Pakistan lead to a two front war, but also China, on it’s own is a very astute country which is always waiting in the wings, coveting other nations’ territories and resources. Diplomacy with China merely goes to save India’s skin, nothing more, since the Chinese leadership is and has been, historically, astute in double talk. What then is the solution?

The answer comes in one single word ‘Deterrence’. Let’s begin by understanding what the word means in a military and strategic context. While policy researchers will promptly provide sophisticated definitions of the word, replete with jargon, the meaning of the word can quite aptly be summarized in a few words – the ability to give fear to your enemy. As long as there is a reason for your enemy to fear you, he will think twice, even thrice, before initiating a conflict.

So while the proponents of peace in India might argue, we should not buy too many weapon systems, so as not to intimidate our enemies, the truth is peace is best achieved when your enemy has fear of going to war with you. The reason why China has played the role of a regional bully in South East Asia is because, there has been no country in the neighborhood with the ability to give China a bloody nose till date. China feels Supremely powerful and comfortable in its position in SE Asia, and as you know Absolute power corrupts.

Indian leadership today is guilty of underestimating the grave threat we face from the rise of China. China might be concentrating on South China Sea currently, but sooner or later they are bound to invade Arunachal Pradesh. We are proud of our Armed Forces’ commitment to lay down their lives, but just the bravery of soldiers is not enough. We need State of the art Military hardware, and we need it yesterday. Furthermore, there has been a tendency to buy cheap weaponry and buy what we can afford at the earliest, while keeping the expensive strategic defense deals on the back-burner.

A rise in defense budget with immediate effect is a must. Our leadership has been groveling and complaining about us being a poor nation as an excuse for cutting defense expenditure, only when a nation is well protected can it prosper. There is no need to get daunted by or match China’s defense budget, their defense requirements are larger due to larger borders and greater territorial ambitions. Ours however can achieve all our needs if the defense budget is raised to around USD 75 – 80 B per annum. Can a 2.7 Trillion-dollar economy, with a Forex reserve close to 500 Billion, not afford to spend USD 80 B year. After all, we sympathize with the agrarian and poor in our country, as a legacy of Gandhi and Nehru, but no one seems to realize, how much our soldiers compromise and what hardships they endure for a petty salary, yet we do not feel the need to arm them with adequate weapons to fight our adversaries, so that their morale might be sky high. Furthermore, having state of the art weaponry provides a deterrence capacity to us which means the enemy will think twice, even thrice before attacking us, or even try to bully us.

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