Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Insufficient Indian defence budget. How can India and the US contribute each other(in the defence sector)?
Major security challenge in the Asia-Pacific region
- The Chinese are on track to dominate the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific
- China has increased military spending at an average of 8.5% per year
- This acknowledges the foreseeable outcome of the growing gap between China’s ability to project military power in Asia and the defence capabilities of other regional militaries
- Obscuring this gap, and matching it in some sense, is the need of the hour
Insufficient defence budget
- The 2018 Indian defence budget is no more than 1.5% of gross domestic product, which barely keeps pace with inflation
- India’s military pensions are now greater than its entire defence capital budget
- This in the midst of a military readiness situation that notable Indian observers describe as a “crisis” caused by significant shortfalls in major weapons systems like fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks, rifles and submarines
Direct comparison(of defence budget) is misleading
- Direct comparisons between military spending totals are misleading for a variety of reasons, including mismatches between resources and military requirements
- For example, it takes far fewer resources to deny an adversary access to a local geography than to project power from one side of the globe to the other
Asia is in the midst of a “multipolar moment”
- Some experts question the necessity of a defence partnership with the US, believing that India will thrive in multipolarity by hedging its partnerships among many countries
- But the math of military modernization suggests the multipolar moment will eventually be superseded by a Sino-centric security order
Why is India important for the US?
- No country has the demographic and economic weight to play the stabilizing role India can in Asia
- This is why Republicans and Democrats are united in treating India as a “Major Defence Partner”
- Major Defence Partner is a unique designation created by the Barack Obama administration and sustained by both the US Congress and the Donald Trump team
What can be done?
- Important steps can be taken to bolster Indian military power that are unrelated to budgets , but that requires India to embrace the US more closely than ever before
- A choice can be made to partner(in some areas exclusively) with the US because this is the only realistic hedge against Chinese hegemony
- This includes increasing information sharing and interoperability in maritime domain awareness, expanding cooperation in anti-submarine warfare, and partnering on maritime patrols