Pakistan Announces $9.6 Billion Defense Budget
The defense budget for the next fiscal year is up 10.22 percentIndia and China are among the world’s top five spenders on defense, with the former spending $45 billion
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government has announced a defense budget of 1.1 trillion rupees ($9.6 billion) for the 2018-19 fiscal year, up 10.22 percent.
Defense expenditure is 21 percent of the total budget of 5.932 trillion rupees for the next fiscal year, and 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail lauded the military’s sacrifices while presenting the budget in the National Assembly on Friday.
“Our military and paramilitary apparatus has fought hard and laid their precious lives for our country,” he said.
“The last hideouts of militants in North Waziristan have been eliminated through operation Zarb-e-Azb.”
Defense and security analysts link the increased defense budget to the devaluation of the rupee in recent months and subsequent inflation.
Defense analyst Amjad Shoaib said the increase is insufficient given the government’s claim that Pakistan is fighting militants without foreign assistance.
The military requires extra funds for border fencing and establishing forts along the border with Afghanistan, he added.
The defense budget does not include allocations for major planned military hardware acquisitions from the international market. It also does not mention expenditure on Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs.
On Jan. 4, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US was suspending its entire security assistance to Pakistan until it proves its commitment to fighting all terrorist groups operating in the region.
The US has withheld $350 million to Pakistan in security assistance, known as the Coalition Support Fund.
Retired Air Marshal Shahid Lateef said military expenses have increased manifold due to multiple engagements along the borders and within the country.
“Our military is faced with fifth-generation warfare, and it needs billions of rupees other than the defense allocations to deal with the threat,”
Pakistan’s neighbors India and China are among world’s top five defense spenders, with New Delhi allocating $45 billion this year.