A country’s security and integrity depends more on its overall national policy than on the weapons at its disposal. There are enough examples to show that countries which are seen to be peaceful and friendly and which concentrate fully on their people’s economic and social welfare feel secure form internal threats and foreign aggression. A significant section of population consigned to poverty and social backwardness invariably acts as a destabilising factor. Countries which promote business relations, encourage tourism and people to people relations have fewer enemies than those who build walls instead of bridges. The list of world’s largest arms importers for 2015 underlines these lessons.
Saudi Arabia tops the list of the arms purchasers in 2015. The Kingdom however continues to face internal terrorist threats and is occupied by a phobia of foreign aggression. Subjected to crippling international sanctions and short of foreign exchange, Iran stands nowhere in the list of the top arms importers. It is however the only country in the Gulf which faces no internal terrorist threat or foreign aggression.
India, the second largest importer of arms, has a lot to make it feel insecure. China which spent less than half the amount India spent on arms purchases remains more composed and confident. China generally has a more friendly posture towards its neighbours and for three decades after 1949 it concentrated on social development with the result that the type of abject poverty that one finds in India is nowhere to be encountered in China. India faces both internal strife and hostility in the region caused by all too frequent big power bluster.
Pakistan needs to depend more than it has done so far on a policy of good neighbourly relations, promotion of trade and people to people ties than on weapons. It has to spend more on education, health and skills training to turn its extra large reservoir of youthful manpower into an economic asset. No country, however powerful, can attack and subjugate a contented and patriotic population in the present era.