Defence budget: Facts and figures | By Asad Ali


Defence budget: Facts and figures

THE defence sector is a top priority of every country, be it developed or developing. The survival of any state is not possible without strong military might.

The sophistication of defence forces has become a reality now and being considered as major point for the protection of state’s territorial integrity.

The countries having weaker military have lost their charm and international standing.

For instance, Libya, Syria, Somalia and many other countries couldn’t flourish as a result of poor military might. Pakistan is located at strategic point of the world.

Be it economic, political and geostrategic pivot, Pakistan needs strong military might in order to maintain the balance of power in the region, which is instigated by our eastern neighbour India.

Having said that, Pakistan is spending less amount of overall country’s budget to meet its military targets.

Despite that, our defence forces are at the top of the elite list of strongest armies in the world.

The Pakistani government is working tirelessly to mitigate economic and security challenges.

Despite having low economic resources, the government of Pakistan is undertaking various programs to uplift overall economic environment and create favourable conditions for investors.

Our defence forces are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with civilian departments in order to play their due role for the betterment of the country.

Owing to the economic chaos in the country, our defence forces have refused any kind of increase in the annual budget in the last two years.

Not only this, they have contributed massive amount to the Dam Fund, which was initiated by former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar.

Likewise, there are some hostile elements within our society who are working for someone else’s agenda to malign defence forces for mere political mileage.

These elements are spreading fake facts and figures regarding the defence spending, which are contrary to the actual figures, given in annual budget.

A few highlights of our defence budgets in the last few years are given below. Pakistan’s defence budget takes away a major chunk of the total budgetary resources.

In thefinance bill of 2021-22, defence division got total Rs1,370 billion out of total budgetary resources of Rs8,487 billion, which is mere 16% of total budget.

Out of 1370 billion rupees, 16% were allocated for defence while 84% budget for non-defence related expenses.

For the record, in Budget 2020-21, defence-related expenses comprised 17.67% of the total expenses.

In effect, the defence budget as a percentage of the total outlay has gone down from 17.67 % last year to 16%.

There is a common misperception in Pakistan that defence sector is getting maximum amount from annual finance bill and Over the years, Pakistan’s defence budget has been rising at an accelerated pace.

This myth and perception is contrary to the actual figures. If we talk about Pakistan’s defence budget, in the 1970s the allocation for defence amounted to 6.50% of GDP.

In 2001-02, the allocation for defence stood at 4.6% of GDP. In Budget 2021-22, an allocation of Rs1,370 for defence is 2.8% of GDP.

Last year, we spent 2.86% of GDP on defence. This year (2022-23) the government has allocated 1523 billion rupees for defence division.

In effect, over the past fifty years, the defence budget as a percentage of GDP has gone down drastically from 6.50% of GDP in 1970s to 2.8 percent this year.

As per report of SIPRI Military Expenditure Database and ‘The Military Balance’ from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, there are many countries that are spending huge amount of GDP on its defence sector.

For example, Oman spends 12% of its GDP on defence, Afghanistan 10.6%, Lebanon 10.5%, Saudi Arabia 8%, Kuwait 7%, Algeria 6.7%, Iraq 5.8%, UAE 5.6%, Azerbaijan 4%, Morocco 5.3%, Israel 5.2%, Jordan 4.9%, Qatar 4.4%, Russia 3.9% and US 3.4%.

The world spends $1.98 trillion on defence.Of the total global defence spending, the US constitutes 39 percent, China 13 percent, India 3.7 percent, Russia 3 percent and Pakistan 0.44 percent (along with others).Yes, India at $73 billion is now ahead of Russia.Pakistan spends around $8.7 billion.

Pakistan’s defence budget on a per capita basis is one of the lowest in the world.Pakistan spends $40 on a per capita basis while Israel spends $2,200 on a per capita basis.

According to Global Firepower, Pakistan’s defence forces are ranked as the 10th most powerful military in the world.

On the basis of ‘expenses per soldier’, Pakistan’s defence forces come out as the most efficient on the face of the planet.

The US spends $392,000 on a per soldier basis, Saudi Arabia $371,000, India $42,000, Iran $23,000 and Pakistan $13,400.

With the lowest defence budget in the region, Pakistani defence forces are always there in order to help civilians in whatever capacity given to them.

Be it natural calamities or any other disaster, Pakistan’s defence forces always come first to help its people and departments.

As our forces are going all out to help our people, it is very unfair to malign them for political gains and the satisfaction of some political actors at the behest of hostile elements.

We all must bear the responsibility not to spread venom against our brave forces, that are sacrificing their lives for our better future.

This is the responsibility of every individual not only the entire department. We must give respect to our heroes.

—The writer is Islamabad-based regular contributor.


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