http://pakobserver.net/200904/06/Articles04.asp Pakistani Observer---- India’s defence preparations, as reflected in its recent defence budget, are a source of concern to Pakistan. The defence budget of 1.41 trillion rupees (US$28.3 billion), about 2.4 per cent of Gross National Product, marks a 24 per cent increase over the last year’s defence outlay. It devours 15 per cent of the overall central budget for the fiscal year (April 1, 2009 to 31 March 2,010). The defence allocations exclude outlay allocated to India’s defence ministry (about Rs. 1,666 billion or US$ 33.3 billion). The purpose is to deflate actual defence provision as a proportion of the country’s GNP. Likewise the expenditure on nuclear production and space projects is not shown under defence-budget head of account. The accounting jugglery enables India to conceal enormous expenditure on naval dockyards, defence-related machine tools and electronic industry, border and strategic road, and para-military forces. The real increase in defence budget comes to over 34 per cent if we take into account the outlays of defence nature concealed in civil ministries’ budgets. The defence budget is presented as ‘interim’. It is said that the final budget would be presented by the party that wins power in the imminent general elections around July 2009. In view of the trend perpetuated by past budgets, there is no possibility that the colossal defence budget will be slashed to stash out greater outlay for social sector programmes , particularly those aiming at alleviation of poverty in rural area. It is a slap on shiny face of India that millions of its people continue to live under the poverty line (about $1 a day) while defence budget is routinely hiked each year. The outlay for revenue expenditure stands at Rs. 868 billion ($17.3 billion) as against whopping capital outlay of Rs. 548 billion ($ 10.9 billion). Pakistan’s president has rightly drawn attention of the powers that matter, to Pakistan’s need for generous financial aid. Without money, Pakistan cannot fight any asymmetrical (anti-terrorist) or symmetrical (conventional or nuclear) war. As such, the nuclear threshold to outbreak of a nuclear conflagration would be lowered. It is unfortunate that self-styled experts like Kilcullen have predicted collapse of Pakistan as a country within the next six months. He envisions that Pakistan’s nuclear bombs, around 100, may fall into hands of religious militants. He says, “The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover-that would dwarf everything we’ve seen in the war on terror today”. The US report `World at Risk’, also, presents a gloomy picture of the prevailing politico-economic situation. No country likes to make a public disclosure of its nuclear policy. Such a policy would naturally require comparing one’s own nuclear capability (arsenal of bombs) with that of one’s adversary. Too, scenarios justifying use of atomic weapons have to be specified. Even the USA, which dropped A-bombs on Japan, and other de jure nuclear powers have kept mum about their nuclear policy. Some countries follow an official policy of strict opacity with regard to their nuclear programs, their status, projections and perspective use of weapons. Israel is a case in point. Others have a translucent nuclear policy. The official mumbo jumbo, as is the case with India, states that the country would never be the first to use nuclear weapons. However, its nuclear build-up, even before signing of the 123 Agreement, has been continuing at a feverish pace. She wants to equip her navy with nuclear submarines and nuclear warheads. Advanced RADAR systems are being purchased to disable Pakistan’s fore-seeing capability. Arms and ammunitions are being purchased from multiple sources to bring about all-round improvement in capability of her all the three defence services. Her army is digging NBC-attack-protected tunnels in forward areas along the unresolved borders with Pakistan and China, as a bulwark against counterstrikes by the adversaries. The last-mentioned event should be an eye-opener for India’s neighbours. Obviously, India is preparing for NBC warfare. The “tunneling technology for developing hardened shelters” was the main agenda item discussed at the Indian commanders’ conference, chaired by General Deepak Kapoor. The conference was attended by chiefs of all the seven commands and other top brass of the 1.13-million army. The conference remained focused on India and China. It is significant to note that the idea of constructing tunnels in border areas had been mooted by the Udhampur-based Northern Command. This operational command is responsible for guarding the Line of Control with Pakistan and the Line of Actual Control with China in the western sector, as also undertaking counter-insurgency operations in occupied Kashmir. Overhead shielding by earth to troops in tunnels not only protects troops from possible nuclear attacks but also from shock waves thereof and, as such, minimises exposure to gamma and neutron radiation. An added advantage of the tunnels would be incapacitation of hostile satellite observation of troops’ positions to gauge force levels in forward areas. Tunnels would also be used to establish command and control centres to direct operations during times of war. Even helicopters could be positioned in subterranean tunnels to launch surprise attacks, or undertake reconnaissance missions. While blacking out its own troops’ concentrations Pakistan’s meagre resources do no allow it to match its next-door neighbour in defence expenditure. Its onslaught against religious militants is being weakened by lack of funds. Because of frustration at lack of economic opportunities, more and more people are getting allured to the extremist views. Pakistan is in dire need of economic and military aid. Through this help, it could fight out havens of terrorists, and improve lot of the common man. The aid would also enable Pakistan to maintain a robust, credible, and secure nuclear deterrent against India.