Surgical strikes, Uri attack, Indus Water Treaty, Nuclear threats, Baluchistan, Kashmir conflict… the list could go on. India and Pakistan have fought 4 wars in the last 6 decades since their independence and have continuously lived under strained relationship.
Obviously, there’s definite economic cost to such a troubled relationship and the scuffle over Siachen Glacier presents itself as the epitome of this cost. On average, India spends INR 50MN per day which roughly translates into $200–300MN annually. The accumulated cost of holding the post has already crossed $5 BN mark.
It would be interesting to know where India and Pakistan stands in terms of Military spending when compared to military spends by other nations. The following charts compares the military spending of the nations in US$.
However, making comparison only in terms of Military Spending might not give a complete picture. Following chart maps the Share % of government spending on military. More the red, higher the government spending on military in comparison to other avenues.
The results are quite expected with middle-east nations spending a much higher percentage (as high as 25 to 30%) on military resources. We’ll have a separate post on analyzing military spends across the world.
Coming back to India & Pakistan; in 2015, India spent US$ 51257 MN on military; whereas, Pakistan spent around US$ 9510 MN.
To give you a perspective, the annual spending on military by India is enough to provide Primary and Secondary education to about 5 MN children in an average Private school in India. That’s 1/3rd of number of children born in India per year (going by current birthrate).
Following chart maps the military spending of these two nations.
However, to understand the full picture, here’s the chart plotting the % share of government spending on military v/s education and health for both the nations as well as the comparison in terms of Per Capital Expenditure.
Saying that a nation doesn’t requires military resources might be wrong. But looking at the government spending over military in comparison to other resources does rings an alarm bell. India and Pakistan, both have their own set of challenges that has been plaguing them since long.
Both India & Pakistan have a long way to go. And considering the current economic trend, Pakistan really needs to work upon few critical issues to set its course back towards development as it currently risks placing itself on the verge of instability. The data on trade accurately depicts the economic mess Pakistan is in.
Though issues like Kashmir conflict and reportedly Pakistan’s State sponsored Terrorism (covered in detail in other post) are a hard ball to solve. But why exactly is it so important to solve these issues.
Well, South Asia is one of the most important regions of the world. Home to ¼ th of entire human race, largest middle class nurturing potential of a humongous market and the strategic location in terms of trade routes — enough reasons to maintain the region’s stability.
After all, the key to any lasting relationship is that the people on both sides should want it and the ability of their government to churn the people’s voice into real action. But at this point, let’s hope for the best.