Pakistan has made it into the top ten of another list we can’t really say we are proud of. Pakistan was the tenth largest arms importer in the world in 2015, (down one spot from number nine the previous year) according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Saudi Arabia was the leading arms importer in the world, followed closely by India.
Successive governments have spent more on military expenditure than on social development, communications infrastructure and health combined. While every nation, including Pakistan has the right to ensure its security especially in these trying times; arms requirements and procurements must change too.
While it is true that India imported arms worth $3,078m standing at second largest importer and in comparison Pakistan spent $735 million on arms imports, we must stop taking the value of India’s import of arms as a direct threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty. The greed and appetite for arms procurement is a never-ending one; they buy one and in response we must buy two. This want for bigger and better does no good to either nation as both struggle under the weight of illiteracy and poverty and these valuable resources can be directed towards sustainable economic and social development. Looking at the problem just in terms of measuring the size of our nukes, has done no good in seven decades. It can be argued that it is because of our mammoth military budgets that we have survived at all, but economic development was the other way to do this, a direction we have ignored.
It is easier today than ever to be the bigger party in this race and end the competition as China, the largest exporter of arms in the world, after US and Russia, is Pakistan’s strongest ally. The military is good at security, but it will always make the wrong decisions when it comes to all else, as it has. Western states, on which the model of the nation states is based, all put the military subordinate to civilians. In Pakistan, this is taken as an affront to the military, when it only means that the individual citizen is sovereign (he could be soldier, doctor, teacher, or unemployed), and that the military is only one institution in the administrative hierarchy.