Military-industrial complex

The US has offered India top-of-the-line weapon systems. The Pentagon has said that three agreements currently being negotiated between India and the US would allow the country to share key American technologies. That the Americans are pitching for a large market, India, to sell its latest military wares should not come as a surprise. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are the largest arms suppliers in the world, with the US topping the list. According to a CRS report, ‘Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations’, “During the period of this report, 2001-2008, conventional arms transfer agreements (which represent orders for future delivery) to developing nations comprised 64.8 percent of the value of all international arms transfer agreements.” The report said that Saudi Arabia was the leading recipient of arms deliveries among developing world recipients in 2008 while India ranked second.

In a capitalist world, the aim of all businesses is profit maximisation. The arms industry is one of the largest in the world. The industry is so strong that former US president Eisenhower had to deliver a warning about it in his farewell speech. He said that the influence of the military establishment and the arms industry was so great that despite an “imperative need for this development”, the US “must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex”. He warned that it would endanger the democratic process, but today the arms industry is the engine that drives the American economy. Thus the US trying to sell its weapons to India in a bid for both its commercial and geo-strategic plans in Asia will lead to a dangerous arms race in the region. Though India might not consider Pakistan its conventional enemy any longer and is eyeing China’s rising power, we on the other hand, given our India-centric defence posture, would do our utmost to match India in every way possible.

Neither India nor Pakistan can afford to get into a renewed arms race given the sea of poverty in both countries. India’s pretensions to become a big power will be a colossus with feet of clay. Pakistan will also follow in its footsteps and all our peace initiatives will then bite the dust. China will jump in to help us to counter the increasing US influence over India. It is not in anyone’s interest if the subcontinent lends itself to the big powers’ designs and becomes a plaything in their hands once again.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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