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India’s rising defence expenditure is not too high if compared to that of other countries

October 3, 2008
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There are indications that India might double its defense budget. Some of these expenses include sophisticated NBC (nuclear-biological-chemical) defence technology to counter terrorist attacks (both Pakistan and China possess this), smart vests impregnated with silver nano particles to protect against  biological agents and NBC suits with thermo-electric cooling. India also wants to establish a “strong defence-industrial base” and is willing to allow up to 49 percent foreign investment in the defence sector on a “case-to-case basis”.

We might overtake Britain in the next five years. Today our expenditure is low if compares it to our GDP – not even 2 percent.

Britain spends around 3 percent (2007 figures) of its GDP on on Defence, but it’s not Britain that we have to  worry about, but China and Pakistan. Although China does not spend too much of its GDP on defense, no one believes it (this is explained later).

Official (2007) figures: (Defense expenditure as a percent of GDP)

  • China – 1.4 percent
  • United States – 4.6 percent
  • Britain – 3 percent
  • France – 2 percent
  • Russia – 2.63 percent
  • India – 2.5 percent (reduced this year to 1.9 percent)

Another way to see Defence expenditure in perspective is to see how much money goes into defense spending as compared to other spending. These are the defense spends in percentage terms (as a proportion of all fiscal expenditure, 2007 figures)

  • China – 7.2 percent
  • United States – 16.6 percent
  • France – 13.5 percent
  • Russia – 15.1 percent
  • India – 14.1 percent

Now here is the expenditure in real terms from a study by Jane’s Industry Quarterly.

Defense budgets across the world (2008 in USD Billion)

1 United States 696.30
2 United Kingdom 79.27
3 France 65.74
4 China 58.07
5 Japan 48.10
6 Germany 43.55
7 Saudi Arabia 38.32
8 Russian Federation 36.73
9 Italy 31.40
10 Korea, South 28.30
11 India 27.21
12 Brazil 24.62
13 Australia 19.74
14 Spain 19.37
15 Canada 16.19

Defense budget figures are deceptive
Even democratic countries are known to be devious when it comes to revealing their defense budgets and it’s worse in the case of other regimes. Pakistan’s defense expenditure is $4.39bn, but the country’s defense budget was revealed in their parliament for the first time in 40 years this year! And like China, it is believed that even this is only half of what it actually is.

In Pakistan, certain expenses – military pensions, costs of acquisition of major weapon systems, earnings from export of arms and ammunition from ordinance factories and defense credits from various Muslim countries – are not included in the budget. Surprising isn’t it that even major weapon acquisitions are not made from the defence budget! All to ensure secrecy.

Where China is concerned, the budget does not appear to include expenditure on Chinese-made weapons and equipment, some R&D expenses, paramilitary police, funds for special large weapons purchases from abroad, funds for some military factories, funds for defence industry conversion and for military aid. A long list!

India too has certain defense expenditure (defence pensions, para military forces and the defence ministry itself) which is not reflected in the budget.

Why India needs to spend more
There is much discussion about whether India should increase its defense expenditure. An argument against it is that we could be escalating the arms race.  Well, one needs to keep that delicate balance between genuine requirements and simply getting into a race…what that delicate balance is something that even experts do not agree on. But the experts decide by comparing the defense budgets of the world (in real and percentage terms) and evaluating threat perception.

Another argument against increasing defense spending is that being a developing country we need the money for our development. Agreed, because our defense spending as compared to our other spending seems too high but I feel that reducing corruption will go a long way in freeing funds for social development. Why not go after corruption hammer and tongs?

We need to spend because of our border problems and unpredictable neighbours. Here are some obvious  reasons:

  • Huge country (great number of kilometers to guard physically)
  • Neighbours eyeing Indian land (Pakistan is after Kashmir and China is eyeing parts of Arunachal Pradesh)
  • Aggressive neighbors spending huge amounts on defense, much of it secretly.

(Credits: Graph is from Business World)

(Tip for this article has been given by Vishal Sharma)

Related Reading: Failed States of the World
Different states give different rewards for bravery
China eyes Arunachal Pradesh
China has encircled India
Indian youth wary of joining the defense forces?

47 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2008 10:46 pm

    Nice descriptive report but some of the countries that you compare India with are first world countries. They can afford such expenditure we can not. Long term political settlement of all issues is thus the only way out for India. What is the Indian black budget like? Does anyone have figures on that? I am quite interested in that. Most fishy things that governments spend on are never known to the public.

  2. October 3, 2008 11:07 pm

    nice and an informative post! no doubt India’s nuclear expenditure would double up but as i went through the details of Defense budgets across the world i think it isn’t a bad deal either….but yes keeping in mind that we are a developing economy i think we still have a way to go as there are several issues which seek attention. so i think going for a nuclear treaty might not be that beneficial in present scenario.

  3. October 3, 2008 11:42 pm

    @ Nita:

    This discussion from some time ago may interest you and add to this post. It is a VC friend’s post about a comparison (a very bad one, in my view) of India and Israel which veered into defence related discussion.

    global-themes.com/2007/05/12/india-israel-bad-comparison/

    I do not buy arguments which seek to say ‘oh we better spend on education and health than on bombs’. With neighbours like India’s, it is almost a necessary evil! Even so I think India’s defence expenditure is not a matter of ‘how-much’ but of ‘what’ it will be spent on. That part requires both close scrutiny and oversight.

  4. October 4, 2008 1:55 am

    @Shefaly:
    //I do not buy arguments which seek to say ‘oh we better spend on education and health than on bombs’

    Absolutely! Things have to be done when they need to be done. Other than the security issue you raise, we have been spending money on education and health for ages and there is really no point pumping more water in corroded pipelines. I think it is extremely important to put our man on moon too.

    • ankit dhoundiyal permalink
      November 14, 2009 6:13 pm

      the pipelines are not corroded they are just jammed

  5. October 4, 2008 7:10 am

    Not only are India’s boundaries long, they are also extremely diverse and India faces a different kind of fight in almost every environment. For eg, infiltration and Pak army in the harsh snowy Himalayan terrain of Kashmir, Pak army and arms smugglers in the desolate Rajasthan desert, armed drug smugglers and insurgent movements in the tropical jungles bordering the NE, threat of pirates and LTTE in the seas surrounding us. One must also not forget that patrolling the densely populated borders of West Bengal and Punjab is another challenge in itself.

    Dont forget the various rescue operations the army gets involved in from time to time.

    Only other countries in a similar situation would be China and Russia, but their borders are pretty calm for the most part.

    So, the armed forces have a good case for demanding the pay hikes, maybe even this expenditure needs to be scaled up.

  6. October 4, 2008 8:21 am

    Nita, you are providing great deal of information and presenting it in a lucid manner for regular readers of your blog. Some of us would be depending on you to provide useful information on a wide variety of subjects. Defence has to now go beyond protecting country’s borders. Technology spending is the key.

  7. Dr. Anant Bhagwat. permalink
    October 4, 2008 9:27 am

    Mr. Sharma, recently went down fighting terrorists in Delhi & his family received 5 Lacks. Abhinav Bhindra took a pot shot in olimpics & received 5 cr.s from the same govt of India. Govt can not compensate for the sacrifice of Indian Armed Forces, monetorily. At-least respect them, keep in mind what they sacrifice for us, give them what is over-due. Strip all the politiciens & beurocrats of their unlawful, illegal wealth & pay the armed forces. Their demands are humble. They deserve much much more. Pay them soon & before they ask for it.

  8. October 4, 2008 9:42 am

    I am sure that Indian Government too is spending much more than what it is showing on papers. But, yes, we need to gear up the security at borders. Its impossible to guard the length and breadth of the whole border till we have more manpower and money pumped into it.

  9. October 4, 2008 10:22 am

    Oh you missed another reason,if we are going to have another nuke test,we will need a lot more weapons,to even stay alive.Someone can’t keep their bombs,in,they are just searching for a reason….😉

  10. October 4, 2008 11:02 am

    Odzer, yes certain things are hidden and the likes of us will never get to know. About your mention of developed countries, one needs to take into account the length and diversity of borders as well as a country’s threat perception and then balance it out against funds available. That is how the experts arrive at the figures they do.

    Arpit, thanks. I guess you mean we need to keep testing nuclear weapons. Well, I am not so sure about it myself, but I think if we need to, we will, despite the treaty. That is what ex-Pres Kalam said on tv.

    Shefaly, interesting link and even more interesting was the intelligent dialogue where people were not attacking anyone personally, but simply making coherent arguments. And rational ones too. I agree though that Ninan made some sweeping statements and frankly I do not know why people cannot see the grays. Mental laziness, as Shantanu said, could well be the answer.

    Vikram, yes not just long but also diverse. Thanks for detailing. About the payhikes, I wanted to mention that as it is so much in the news, but there is an additional aspect to it…that of downgrading the army posts a notch below the civilian ones which you can read about here. I would have mentioned it in my article except for the fact that the latest news is that a commission has been appointed to look into the matter…let’s see what happens.

    Gopinath, yes we need to use technology more to protect our borders. But the situation right now is such we cannot even use technology to protect the borders of our cities…and I am talking cameras here! There is so much corruption involved in buying just cameras that it’s shocking. And about the other point, thanks. I try.🙂

    Dr. Anant Bhagwat, I agree they are not asking for much. Just parity.

    Amit, true, but still more transparent than some other countries.

    Vishesh, at least right now we cannot have the nuke test. But if our neighbours do, maybe the situation will change for us…hope not.

  11. October 4, 2008 1:03 pm

    @ Priyank

    The sarcasm in your reply isn’t entirely lost on me.🙂

    Much as I agree that education spending should be a priority for all countries, not just India, because that shapes the future (assuming it is the right sort of ‘education’), I recognise that life is about making sense of shades of grey.

    Spending decisions – whether in countries or in companies – are not zero-sum games and are not always the most optimal as most people would like to believe. Tough and unpopular decisions may sometimes have to be made based on factors one does not control, in this case, being surrounded by two well-armed neighbours, with thinly veiled bellicosity. Just like Indian families, who may be poor but spend a lot on festival lighting or marriages, countries sometimes have to do things for ‘positioning’ or ‘posturing’ in their (international) communities. That may include things like man-on-the-moon or China’s recent space walk.

    Either-or arguments seem to think that money is sitting ring-fenced somewhere and can be moved from one such ring-fence called ‘defence’ to another called ‘education’ or ‘health’. This is far from accurate; no decisions happen without negotiations.

    Of course, if sarcasm wasn’t intended in your comment, I apologise. Thanks.🙂

  12. October 4, 2008 1:29 pm

    We have a huge defence R&D establishment in the form of DRDO, but they dont deliver results as expected and as they are capable of…My brother, couple of years back was a scientist in Chandigarh establishment of DRDO, and he used to tell they dont have any work out there ..only job was, to go Lab (They call even their normal office with this name) at about 10-30, then have tea, then wait for lunch time which was 12-30 to 2, then wait for return bus @ 4:30,
    And all that 5 days a week

    He was frustrated then finally resigned and joined BHEL , nowadays he has some good design work which satisfies an engineer’s craving for that, and also satisfaction of doing something in life, which our Govt “R&D” departments can’t provide

  13. October 4, 2008 1:41 pm

    very informative post ..i dont mind the spending if the security is kept good ..but bomb blasts regularly in major cities show a big hole in india’s security measures

  14. October 4, 2008 1:58 pm

    Here is India’s arms imports from gapminder. Thought you guys might be interested. Basically we are just fickle about how much we spend.

  15. October 4, 2008 2:48 pm

    @ VivekMittal:

    That is an interesting point. I think you are pointing to a gap between “fundamental research” as they do at DRDO and “translational research” that BHEL and BEL do.

    I worked summers in both BHEL (nothing ‘defence’ related) and BEL (in a secondary radar unit). I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw and learnt.

    That said it is worth a mention that I have friends at DRDO in Dehradun and their experience is very different. Things may vary from centre to centre depending on several factors. A surprisingly large proportion of DRDO labs do non-civilian research and several civilian and non-civilian products have come out of those labs. I wouldn’t write them off so easily.

  16. October 4, 2008 3:19 pm

    Shefaly

    I dont think they do any “fundamental research” in DRDO (Though they are supposed to do so)..
    Yes one of the biggest successes of DRDO is India’s missile program, but that was largely based on technical help from USSR

    Mostly in DRDO, they research the imported fighter aircrafts, tanks, try to understand their dsign and then make indian versions for them

    On the other hand in BHEL (and other PSU’s) they are not supposed to do any fundamental research….In BHEL mostly they design the equipments for which they get the orders, on well established thumb rules

  17. October 4, 2008 8:25 pm

    Very interesting post!!

    I am quite surprised that South Korea spends more than India in absolute amounts.

    There is plenty of creative accounting involved and figures may be much higher if you add para-military and forces like BSF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Roads Organisation, Assam Rifles…which get pushed elsewhere.

    Defence expenditure has to recognise geo-political realities in our part of the world. Our view is limited to Pakistan and China. We have to think beyond to cover Afghanistan, Iran, West Asia and South East Asia and East Africa as our sphere of interest.

    Some attempt was made by considering setting up an airbase in Tajikistan (bordering Sinkiang province of China) during NDA regime. That engagement would have deepened since then.

    Use of space for military purposes has already made a quiet begining with the launch of a spy satellite, innocuously named CARTOSAT.

    Our expenditure will only go up as we start acquiring strategic assets around the world, as we start working on our energy and food security.

    This will be a logical consequence of India trying to cement her place as one of the dominant forces on the global stage.

    However, there seems to be very little debate on our strategic initiatives in the public domain. This is all hush-hush citing national interest. I think sometimes, that this approach is probably correct as public debate in India tends to be shallow and more of mindless positioning and a slanging match, as was witnessed during the nuclear deal debate.

  18. October 5, 2008 1:42 am

    Am happy that finally the Govt. is opening up the defence sector to the Pvt companies.
    TATA, LnT, Mahindra, etc are looking at this as a huge opportunity. Why bye foreign when our own companies can manufacture them at lesser price. This would act as an avenue of growth & job creation also.

  19. October 5, 2008 7:25 am

    Unfortunately, Nita, I agree that India is in no position to lag behind China or Pakistan militarily. I say “unfortunately” because defense spending is usually a burden on development. Yet, neither China nor Pakistan is a neighbor one can relax with. For one thing, I fear that even if you were to achieve complete peace with Pakistan, you would need to worry about the possibility the government of that country could be overthrown by militants — which would change the game overnight.

    As you rightly point out, it would not be in India’s interests to start an arms race. Historically, one way to reduce the need for defense spending has been to form strong alliances. Is that a possibility for India?

  20. Guqin permalink
    October 6, 2008 1:41 pm

    To Nita and Indian readers,

    With my highest respect for India:
    I think India owes a reflection upon her own conducts as well. When India rejected conolialism she still decided to keep the McMahon line though which was a product of conolialism. The line had never been accepted even by the Qing dynasty court before its fall in 1911. China had no duty to accept it. In fact, given what China had suffered at the hands of western nations especially that of Britain just before, China had a moral duty to disrespect it.

    I personally do not know enough to decide if the natives in those controversial regions are Chinese, yet it seems quite clear to me that they are not Indians. They simply don’t look like, and though not conclusively, my little reading suggests that they have not been treated like Indians either. “India is a multi-racial country” is not a valid argument. If U.S. conquers the whole world, it can claim that it is just “multi-racial” too. Modern day unified India is a very recent product, to a certain sense accidental. India could at best present these issues as un-settled or controversial but as a moral accuse at China.

    Again, with my highest respect for India, I believe India should put the loss of the border war in pespective. India should in my opinion regonize that what she was and has been dealing with is just the consequences to the struggles for ascending to status of international power, which in essence is no different from that of the west. (In fact, I think India learnt it from the west.) Accordingly, this vision of India’s has caused a great deal of anxieties (if not sufferings) in her neighboring nations too. Remember, no one should pretend that Pakistan and China are India’s only neighbors. India’s loss in the war should be understood as a strategic and political failure only. India shouldn’t paint the other in disgraceful moral colors. In fact, doing this is even more poor a strategy, since it would confuse the new generations and mislead them to non-truthful visions, and generate unnecessary anxieties and fears. This at the end will only damage India but China. In fact, I think India’s new generations have already been misled. For instance, there was a commentator Raj, he always used name-calling terms like Han China, Han China…(sometimes sounded racist, but from his other comments I figured he was not.) though Chinese consists of over 50 minorities. And to my biggest disappointment, there are full of ungrounded hateful comments at Chinese people by Indian readers (must be young) on line. And these comments sometimes appear in western sites too (which is really the biggest supprise in my short Internet experience over a year ).

    ——————————–

    To Paul,

    In order to be fair, I checked out your site first. So, you are an American. Unless you are an Indian living in U.S.(if so, please disregard below, and my appology.), otherwise, that is what I like to say to you:

    You have no right to encourage hostility among others (though I understand that U.S. likes to do that all the time as a nation), and especially that between Pakistan and India. As foreigners we shouldn’t take sides unless we are directly involved.

    From your comment, I guess you like India’s democratic system better than Pakistan’s. OK, that serves western values (not that I don’t respect western values, only that I have found out most westerners only care about the abstract concepts of their values in those poor foreign countries but have no true respects or concerns for the benefits of the living people there.) yet what about all the layors of bitter histories and realities that have created this situation? Should I just remind you who created the seperation between these two countries that could have been one? I just failed to detect any sympathy in your comment.

    No offense. In peaceful times, your comment may be just irrelavent. But in this terrible time, I am a little annoyed by it.

    Gugin, right now I am not in town and therefore cannot give a longer reply. But suffice to say that I think it’s the Chinese who have been misled by their government, far more so than Indians in India. Comparitively we have a free press and open internet. I think this is the mistake that a Chinese will automatically make, think that in India we have a controlled access to information. We do not. All viewpoints are available to people. Also, the knowledge about pre-colonial boundaries is known here.
    In the pre-colonial era, there was no India. Just tiny kingdoms. If we go by your logic, India should break up up into around 30 countries. I guess the Chinese government won’t really care about that, but we do. Also ethnically even the kashmiris and the those in the south who are ethnically different. Even the north Indians (apart from kashmiris) are different ethnically from say those from maharashtra. – Nita.

  21. vivekmittal permalink
    October 6, 2008 2:11 pm

    @Guqin

    You should understand that it’s China more than US or any other country who is busy encouraging hostility between India and Pakistan…and It’s China who is supplying money and tehnology to pakistan to make more bombs and train terrorists

    One thing is common between Pakistan and China..both dont understand the meaning of English word “democracy”

  22. Guqin permalink
    October 6, 2008 3:56 pm

    Nita, I never said that India should break up…. I was merely trying to make a point that India’s moral accuse at China is ungrounded. The rest is India’s own decision.

  23. Guqin permalink
    October 6, 2008 4:33 pm

    Forgive me for my limited English skill. I meant groundless or unfounded. I made up a word that didn’t exist…

  24. vivekmittal permalink
    October 6, 2008 6:11 pm

    Nita

    \\Even the north Indians (apart from kashmiris) are different ethnically from say those from maharashtra \\

    above statement of yours gives the impression that Maharashtrians and Kashmiris are same ethnically🙂

  25. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 6, 2008 7:23 pm

    @ V Mittal

    No, it does NOT. All it does is to firmly refute the north Indian claim that THE THEY are the ethnically and culturally the definitive (and the defining) Indians.

  26. Sudhir Jatar permalink
    October 6, 2008 7:51 pm

    Dear Guqin,
    India rejected colonialism but not the good aspects of the ‘imperialists’. India is a very resilient nation and has a tradition of accepting good ideas and people of all races & religions. Those who have studied history know that India is home to the largest number of religions and sects in the world. Just because the British drew the McMohan Line is hardly an excuse to reject it. In that case, we should also reject the Durand Line between Pakistan and Afghanistan. There has to be some logic, which alas is not forthcoming.
    I have worked in the North East of India, especially Arunachal Pradesh, on which our great neighbour lays claim. Arunachalis certainly do not look like Chinese. They are and look like Indian first and if at all, have some Myanmari features. They are very proud to be Indians. As the people in North East are Indians, how can an Indian treat them as non-Indians? Obviously, Indians cannot treat other Indians as ‘non-Indians’.
    I do not want to give the circumstances of how and why the Chinese could easily come inside India in 1962. Yes, we were not strong enough then. However, there was a skirmish at Chola in 1967 and India recaptured Pt. 15450, occupied by the Chinese. There was a bloody battle in which the Indians fought like tigers (in the words of the rival Chinese Commander). Again, in 1987 there was Sino-Indian border incident at Sumdorong Chu (Sangduoluo He in Chinese media), which the Chinese occupied but vacated because both India and China realised the danger of inadvertent conflict and after initial posturing the decision was made to de-escalate their deployments. The point to remember is that India is a strong power now, militarily and economically, and China knows it too. Time has come when China should not clandestinely arm countries hostile to India with nuclear technology or support insurgency in India. China should act as true friends and India would certainly reciprocate.
    Sudhir Jatar

  27. October 6, 2008 8:01 pm

    Very informative article as always. I think due to our neighbours we have no other choice but to bolster our defense strength. But there could also be ways to spend on defense efficiently. If the money is managed well, less corruption we can have more results with the same money. Easier to say it sitting on the citizen’s side.

  28. October 6, 2008 11:09 pm

    I had posted a comment here but I cant see it now!!😦

    Reema, Perhaps it got deleted by mistake. I was busy clicking today on “approve” as some comments had gone into moderation, and it was early morning today and it is possible I clicked delete instead as I was doing it in the car! Maybe yours went by mistake! Sorry, that could have happened. Please do post it again if it is possible? – Nita.

  29. October 6, 2008 11:10 pm

    Shefaly describes exactly what I mean to say “With neighbours like India’s, it is almost a necessary evil!”

    Wish we could spend more on development but the situation in part of our world is that neither we will develop nor will let u develop (ref:Pakistan). China on other hand is having its cake and eating it too. Only if something could be done that every one would be satisfied within their boundaries and would concentrate on developing what they have instead of eyeing neighbouring areas.

  30. October 7, 2008 7:46 pm

    neat stats… if all the countries are putting up only make-believe figures, it makes the earth apparently sitting on a time-bomb called another world war

  31. October 8, 2008 9:44 am

    Guqin, you said:
    ‘I personally do not know enough to decide if the natives in those controversial regions are Chinese, yet it seems quite clear to me that they are not Indians’

    I am really disappointed by this statement of yours, especially after all the discussions we have had previously. There is only one un contradictable definition of India, and that derives from our Constitution. And according to that Constitution, Arunchalis are Indian. If this definition was not acceptable to them (like it seems to be the case with many Kashmiris) then we would definitely see some form of a large uprising there, and we have not. There are no restrictions on the media there and the people from that state can travel freely around India and the world and express their views. And many of them do and many say they are not Indians like you did but most say they are.

    I am not saying that there are not people in India who are repressed, but the Arunachalis are certainly not one of them.

    I totally agree with your point about moral accusations, India in fact is the last country in the world that has the right to make any moral accusations, our caste system, treatment of women, deeply embedded racism, daily police firings, violence, riots and environmental abuse are there for all to see. But that does not mean that our Constitution and our sovereignty are not worth defending.

  32. October 8, 2008 10:03 am

    Guqin, I would like to comment separately on the geo-politics of this issue.

    In a recent Pew global attitudes survey, people from Asian nations were asked how they felt about other Asian nations. Interestingly, a large majority of Chinese expressed negative views of both Indians and Pakistanis. This is interesting because the Pakistanis (who expressed a very positive view of China) are traditional ‘allies’ of China. So guqin, can you please explain why the Chinese people have such negative views of people who are officially among their best allies ?

    Guqin, uptil 1989 India had a very stern policy towards the Burmese dictators, and was among the strongest forces behind the democracy movement there. Aung San Suu Kyi studied in India, and Mizzima news, the leading independent news agency for Burma (who were the main source of news during the monks uprising last year), has its head office in Delhi and works extensively from India. Guess who decided to stomp in the 90s ? Who offered the dictators their arms and money in return for looting the country’s natural gas and destroying its forests. The Chinese government. And now, the pathetic Indian government is shamefully cozying up to these fiends too, but can you deny China’s role in sustaining that regime ?

    Not very moral, is it ?

  33. Guqin permalink
    October 8, 2008 1:38 pm

    Vikram,

    Thanks for your detailed responses.

    I admit ignorance on the diversity of the peoples living in the controversal regions. But as I stated, I was not deciding who they are. I got the impression that they didn’t look like Indians after looking into a book by an Indian author in U.S.. In the photos, they really looked a lot like Mongols or Chinese to me. Perhaps I got the names of the places confussed.

    Regarding China’s government’s behavior in that part of the world. I can’t tell if what you said is true. After this year’s Tibetan report, I have lost my last trust on western media. Of course, Indian media is not western, but western media have decisive influences in reporting similar issues. (The Darfur report is another example. It has made me despise western reporters). If what you said is ture, and the democracy movement there is a sincere and respectable one (I have doubts), I won’t defend China’s government. Regarding the destruction of the natural environment, it is certainly immoral, yet that seems very different from the kind of morality that we are talking about. Don’t you think?

    Regarding if Chinese like Indians or not, you (and Nita too) got to stop citing those foolish “surveys” ( who did them anyway, and why, how, on what…? Sampling Chineseness on Indianness…? ) I don’t even want to go into arguing against them. But I can tell you clearly: Ordinary Chinese people hardly think of Indian or Pakistani peoples, Let alone liking or disliking. (except recently Pakistan helped us greatly after the earthquake, we are very grateful, especially when Pakistan isn’t rich herself) My whole life, I hardly heard Chinese people I know mentioning India or Indian at all, not even the educated ones. When interest comes, it is mostly curiosities in Indian customs and culture. In my case, I became interested in India first by reading Tagore, and later by regonizing the value of Indian culture in a world dominated by western culture.

    The truth is that, most of the responses above to my comment didn’t get the spirit of my original comment. If you care to read it against, you may see that it wasn’t really an attack at India but a protest at the prejudices at China expressed by many Indians. I hope I didn’t give you the impression that I think negatively about India in general.

  34. October 8, 2008 2:21 pm

    Gugin, as you mentioned my name, I need to answer. I think studies are useful to get a pointer to how groups of people think. And one needs to take them with a pinch of salt, and nowhere have I ever said in any of my posts that they are a hundred percent reliable. I have always said that they have limited value, but yes they have value, depending on the sample size and the way it is conducted and who conducts it. And you are absolutely right about the Chinese not thinking about India and Indians… but that does not necessarily negate what the survey said.

    Arunachal is one of the most peaceful states in India and people there consider themselves Indians and do not want separation. I have written about the danger of clubbing the north-east of India as one region here. And yes Arunchalis have mongoloid features but so do the Thais, the Japanese, the assamese, the meghalayans, the burmese, etc. That does not mean they belong to China! In the deep south of India there is similarity with Srilankans but neither should we claim Sri lanka or they us. Arunachal is very much an integral part of India, yes, because of the boundaries drawn which we respect. I think it’s time that people were satisfied with the land they have and stop fighting.
    I would never support my country if it is interested in some other country’s land against that country’s will, and I do not think it is unpatriotic to feel this way.

  35. krenim permalink
    October 8, 2008 3:59 pm

    gugin :

    Tibet was NOT part of any chinese empire unless you count the yuan dynasty(mongol dynasty).That is as ridiculous as Indians claiming Singapore to be theirs because they were both British colonies so India has no moral obligation to recognize tibet as a part of china.

    Lets get the facts clear you want to dominate asia the Indians,Koreans,Japanese will never allow that and the west will always support them.

  36. Guqin permalink
    October 8, 2008 4:39 pm

    Hi, Kremin

    I think you are just afraid that we will revenge the Opium wars etc. when we restore our strength, so you want to keep the Middle Kingdom weak…

    Don’t worry, we Chinese are not revengeful people, neither are Indians, and Africans, natives in Americas, Australia are too weak or hardly existent to do anything…otherwise, there should have been thousand fold more “September 11” everywhere in every major guilty European countries, especially U.K. ….Man! you don’t know how unusually lucky you guys are!

    But…But…
    Middle easterners are very intellegent and capable peoples (remember, they provided largely the scientific base for the Italian Renaisance). Do you think they will stay weak like now forever? What if someday they restore something similar to an Ottoman or even just 1/10 of China? Do you think they are as forgiving as Chinese and Indians……?

  37. October 9, 2008 3:04 am

    Guqin, I personally look at citizenship and nationality as purely legal definitions, because they are the only ones that I feel are un-contradictory and for the weakest sections of the society, they are the most powerful. It does not matter what people look like or what they speak, I tend to look at citizenship purely as something that guarantees that people have certain rights. Let’s end our discussion about Arunachal on that note, since it seems both you and I have limited knowledge of that area.

    About your point on the survey, yes it is of limited value, but like Nita said, that doesnt make it completely worthless. I know this for a fact, because another Pew survey indicated that Americans have positive views of India and very negative views of Pakistan. I have experienced this many times, many people here have asked me about Indian food, Bollywood etc. And many Americans have started bad-mouthing Pakistan and Muslims in general minutes after they know I am Indian, they dont realize that India is 14 % Muslim. But if based on your personal experience you feel that it doesnt accurately reflect Chinese perceptions of India, then I will take your word. I would like to know however, what the Chinese feel about India’s political structure and government. If you take a cursory glance at English language Indian newspapers you will see unbridled (and unjustified) praise of the ‘strict’ and ‘disciplined’ Chinese government, it has almost become a cover to shift the focus from India’s deeper social problems.

    Trust me, after 5 years in the west I have realized that the western press can be quite prejudiced and unfair, it has both made me squirm and opened my eyes. Cheers.🙂

    Nita, sorry about these long comments.

  38. guqin permalink
    October 9, 2008 4:47 am

    Vikram, Thanks for taking time for your detailed response.

    //I would like to know however, what the Chinese feel about India’s political structure and government.//

    Like I said, average Chinese people don’t think of India a lot, so their impression of India is quite vague. However, I don’t want to lie to you. In general Chinese people think that India’s political structure is a failure and also a proof to the deception of democracy (along side with democracies in most of other non-western nations). But that doesn’t mean we reject democracy all together. Many Chinese including myself see that democracy is benefitial in but only in the lower hierachies in a state (say, below the appointment of governors ).

  39. Guqin permalink
    October 9, 2008 8:27 am

    Vikram, my last comment was probably confusing. I need to introduce a concept first: Shan Rang 禅让, which was praticed in China by about 2000 BC: The ruler selected his successor from outside his family according to the candidates’ moral qualities and abilities. But in about 2000 BC, Da Yu chose his son as his succeesor and started the first dynasty. This system lasted till 1911. I think it’s both by mysterious fate and by chances, China has returned to Shan Rang, only this time, the ruler serves only 10 years by law (I myself suggest 15 years).

    My theory is that, the head of state should indeed be made by Shan Rang. Between Head of state and governors, it is appointment. Below governors, it is democracy. The large secular democracy serves like a transparent base holding Shan Rang up in the air so that common people can watch it avoiding its operation turning secretive. Shan Rang on top provides spiritual guide to the nation as a whole avoiding cultural mediocrity and vulgarity like that of the modern west. Yet if bottom democracy comes too close to the top, some ambitious greedy oridnary folks can directly challenge and displace Shan Rang in name of democracy, which is hardly a reversible proccess. Hence here sets in the large buffer area of appoinment between head of state and governors. As an analogy, Shan Rang is like the brain of a person, appointment the arms and legs, and democracy the internal organs. The work of a person is to keep the brain fresh, healthy, visionary and consistent but forever searching how to please the body. Yet the brain has to trust the organs to fucntion on their own and as to provide healthy substances for the brain. Then the brain orders the arms and legs to move the body to carry out projects.
    This is indeed a “discplined” system like you quoted, but I don’t think it is “strict” since the same person can move up and down in it.

    Of course, this is only the ideal version, it may take decades more to even just near it, but I think it provides a truthful vision.

  40. October 9, 2008 9:11 pm

    Guqin, the political system you described is very interesting. I have been reading some papers about China’s scientific development strategy, and some articles about elections at local levels. So perhaps, one day China will show the world a better model of governance than ‘Western’ democracy.

    I also appreciate your frankness in describing Chinese perceptions of India’s political system, although of course, I dont completely agree with that assessment for many reasons. Thanks🙂.

  41. Guqin permalink
    October 9, 2008 11:03 pm

    Vikram, if not a lot of trouble, would you provide some links to papers about Chinese science developement strategy? I currently live in U.S., but I heard contradicting information about status of science back home. Some foreigners predict it will take over U.S., but Chinese grad. students and faculties say it is alarmingly poor. Both seem honest.

  42. October 10, 2008 2:46 am

    I was actually referring to the overall development policies of the Chinese government, which they refer to as ‘scientific development strategy’. Here is one paper which refers to the concept, http://www.carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&id=20279&prog=zch
    There are a few others but I dont have permission to release them publicly.

  43. Guqin permalink
    October 10, 2008 4:06 am

    Vikram, never mind the links. Thanks.

  44. October 10, 2008 5:23 pm

    Great post Nita, very informative responses from all the comments that I’ve read. I won’t comment further on this. So the least I would say is, god bless us all🙂

  45. December 18, 2008 8:33 pm

    Indian defence expenditure is dangerously archaic. We are a nation seriously under threat, and this threat is far different from conventional warfare.

    Most of the threat comes from terrorism and novel forms of warfare (as we have witnessed in Mumbai). A lot of the threat also comes from media which is bent on vilifying India (particularly on our stance on Kashmir). The war has to be won in these new domains.

    There is practically zero probability of conventional warfare happening. The primary reason for this is our nuclear arsenal. The technology and equipment to our army (guns, tanks, armour, planes) should be of the best quality possible, but this is the maximum that we need to spend on conventional defence.

    On the other hand, we are spending woefully little money on combating terrorism. As witnessed in Mumbai, civilian police have outdated weaponry. The intelligence system is significantly short of funds. There is no clear damage control mechanism for handling crisis situations of urban warfare. Critical nerve-centres such as railway stations, hotels, city-centres and water supply mechanisms have no protection. We need to “defend” these assets against terrorist attacks, and this is our top-most priority.

    Restricting our thinking to just defending “borders” is stupid. Our country is at the forefront
    on the war on terrorism. We should be equipped accordingly to suit this reality.

    We cannot take any more terrorist attacks in any city in our country. The population will start to panic after a few more successful hits. This is the time to act !

  46. November 13, 2009 10:52 am

    The defence of the country requires rejuvenation with ENEMIES multiplying,including internal menance , requiring precise elimination.
    India still imports majority of its equipment & has to face denial regime in the crucial times. New enterpruners /industries can be a great source of supply to the indian security by setting up plants in India , with MoD opening up for PPP & JVs.
    This will make us self dependent , create employment ,increase export etc
    I have been 38yrs in the army with 28 yrs in DEFENCE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT ORGANISTION doing BUISNESS DEVELOPMENT FOR MoD.
    I have full knowledge of the type of area one should get into to frutify in 3yrs.

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