Last month the federal government of Pakistan announced its annual budget 2020-21 according to which Rs.1, 289 billion has been allotted to the defence sector. The defence budget has increased by 11.9% in the fiscal year 2020-21. However, if compared with the 2019-20 revised spending, which was Rs.1, 227 billion, the growth would be 5%. The increasing tensions between India and Pakistan post-Pulwama and the Kashmir issue are one of the main reasons behind this increase in defence spending. The defence policy of Pakistan and military spending have always been India-centric. Hence Pakistan being a much smaller state in order to maintain the conventional balance vis-à-vis India has to enhance its defensive capabilities, e.g. short-range weapons. Due to the volatile, complex and ambiguous strategic environment, military spending is essential for Pakistan.
According to the defence budget of 2020-21, the share of navy has increased and reached 10.85 %. Similarly, PAF budget has been increased to 21.25%, the army budget has increased up to 47.55%, and there has been 20.33% increase in the budget for inter-services establishment. Whereas last year the navy’s share was 11.3%, while for PAF it was 22%, for army 45.4% and 21% was for the inter-services establishment. This year Pakistan navy gets Rs.140 billion, PAF Rs.274 billion, army Rs.613 billion and Rs.262 billion will be given to inter-services establishment. Moreover, for the employee related expenses Rs.475 billion have been allocated, Rs.301 billion will be given for operating expenses which include ration, transport, POL, training and medical treatment-it is 13.77% increase as compared to the previous year. For the import of arms and ammunitions and local purchases, Rs.357 billion have been allotted, which is 13.3% increase as compared to the previous year. The civil works section will grow by 26.14% as the amount allotted to it is Rs.155 billion. The growth in the civil work component was essential because of two major projects that are currently being commenced by the military i.e. the construction of border posts and fencing of Afghanistan and Iran borders. This year the lowest increment is given to the employee related expenses which are 5.6%.
In the developing states which have various military and strategic issues, the effect of military spending upon the economic growth has always been controversial because of continuous tensions between foreign policy and defence compulsions on the one hand and socio-economic needs on the other. However, according to the classical economist Adam Smith “The first duty of the state is to protect its society from the injustice and violence of the other societies as it moves towards civilization”. Despite limited resources, the Pakistan army has been fighting successfully on both the borders in the east and west. About 800 million dollars is the expected cost of the border security plan. Moreover, for years Pakistan army and law enforcement agencies have been fighting against terrorism, operations like Zarb-e-Azab and Radd-ul-Fasad are among the great achievements in the mission to eradicate terrorism from the country. Hence principle responsibility of every state is to enhance its defence forces for the sake of survival and to maintain sovereignty. Hence for Pakistan in order to tackle with these internal and external threats, it has become necessary to increase its defence budget.
The continued animosity and strategic competition between India and Pakistan are also one of the main reasons that Pakistan had increased its defence budget by 11.9% in the ongoing fiscal year. Both countries were at the verge of war after the Pulwama incident when Indian aircrafts entered Pakistan. It was due to the timely and effective response of the Pakistan air force that forced Indian jets to flee, and the situation did not escalate. Hence Pakistan must maintain the strategic parity and conventional balance in order to deter India. India has enhanced its defence spending by 6% this year. According to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) annual report, India has the third-largest military budget in the world. The excessive Indian defence spending creates a security dilemma and compels Pakistan to maintain a precarious military balance by increasing its defence spending. According to the recent budget, Pakistan’s emphasis would be on procurement of the equipment’s to enhance air defence capabilities, improve operational capabilities of the naval fleet and to advance surveillance and communication systems. Pakistan needs to protect itself with all the available means after looking at the grand designs of India. The basis of defence planning has always been threat perception. Moreover, when one has to defend itself against a much larger enemy with the comparatively weak resource, even minimum sufficient defensive capability can only be attained through attaining massive share of the nation’s resource.
Currently, Pakistan is facing different challenges and threats to its security posed by its long-term enemy India. Given the growing tensions among both countries Pakistan has increased its military budget 2020-21 in order to maintain strategic balance in the region vis-à-vis India.
India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture
In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.
India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.
India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.
In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy. Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation. The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.
On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.
Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.
A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces
The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.
The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.
The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.
This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.
Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.
Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.
Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.
Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.
Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS
Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.
According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”
Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.
Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.
According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.
The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.
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