Toys for the boys


News of the Ghauri missiles successful test-firing would absolutely delight many a man-child all across the country. It would be tempting to read something Freudian into this fascination with missiles but one would desist. Also left unexplored would be the PR implications of testing a nuclear-capable missile by a country generally believed by the international community (even if erroneously) to be on the verge of being taken over by the Taliban. The most pressing question, rather, is why our state continues to spend so much on toys when it is faced with one of the worst natural disasters of its entire history? Not to imply, though, that things were peachy before the floods.

News of increased defence cooperation between India and Russia would provide further impetus to the military establishment to go further into the arms race. Since the 1990s, a significantly large group within the Indian defence think tanks has been espousing the theory that the best approach towards dealing with Pakistan is to simply engage it in an arms race. Since there is no way it could catch up, it would spiral into fiscal disaster a la the Soviet Union. But the self serving military industrial complexes within many states, particularly those with histories of military rule, dont even need prodding by rival states.

It would be silly to call the development of ICBMs a part of modern warfare. All of the recent wars started in earnest after the standing armies of the invaded countries were defeated, case in point being Iraq. Governments that adequately spend on their people, can foster and nurture feelings of patriotism. The ones that are needed to put up peoples resistance movements against foreign occupiers. Spending on social sectors, then, becomes the best defence policy for countries that have no intention of attacking other countries. These are desperate times; we cannot afford not to change our security paradigm.