Leadership: India Chases China's Defense Budget


March 8, 2006: India, like China, is increasing its defense spending and working to modernize their armed forces. Next year, India will increase it's defense budget by 7.2 percent. That will work out to 2.4 percent of GDP, and defense spending of some $21 billion. China is believed (via a convoluted and opaque budgeting process) to be spending nearly twice as much. The Indian military wants three percent of GDP (or $26 billion) in order to do all the things the politicians want. India does have one advantage over China, combat experience. China has not fought a major war since 1953, although they had some major border battles with Vietnam in 1979, plus some skirmishes with Russia and India in the 1960s and 70s. India has been fighting Pakistan, and several internal rebel groups, regularly over the past few decades. As a result, India has hundreds of thousands of combat experienced officers and troops on duty. This combat experience is very valuable in wartime. Mistakes made in the early stages of a war are very costly, and often provide the margin between victory and defeat. But the Indian armed forces do not have modern equipment, and only more money will solve that problem.


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