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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's federal government on Friday proposed an 11.9 per cent increase in the defence budget despite the earlier announcement that military spending would remain unchanged in view of the grave economic situation compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget document shows that the defence outlay for 2020-21 would be Rs 1,289 billion as compared to Rs 1,152 billion earmarked for the ongoing fiscal year. The increase, however, is 5% if compared with the revised spending of Rs 1,227 billion in 2019-20.

Part of the excess defence spending in the ongoing fiscal year has been attributed to the continued tensions between India and Pakistan. Relations between the two countries have been spiralling downwards ever since the Pulwama attack in  Jammu and Kashmir in February 2019.

The two countries were on the brink of war when India sent its fighter jets inside Pakistan following the Pulwama attack. PAF reverted with a failed tit-for-tat response.

Earlier this year, India raised its defence spending by around 6%. However, the size of Indian defence budget is six times bigger than the total outlay of Pakistan’s defence. In fact, India’s defence budget is equal to Pakistan’s total budget outlay.

In its annual report released in April, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said India has the world’s third-biggest military budget only behind the United States and China.

As per a Pakistani media report, Pakistan spends $9,000 per solider, India $18,000, Turkey $37,000, China $70,000, Saudi Arabia $360,000 while the United States allocates $425,000 per solider annually.

As a deliberate policy, many terrorist groups were created and fostered by the Pakistani state in order to engage in low intensity warfare with India; but, it soon became clear that Pakistan had created a set of Frankenstein’s monsters some of whom turned against their creator.

Our Bureau