Islamabad: New Delhi's rationale for increasing the defence budget is "consistent with the shift in the Indian government's ideology to more nationalistic elements under Prime Minister Narendra Modi", said a Pakistani daily on Monday.
The Nation asked in an editorial: "Will Pakistan view the Indian government’s decision to spend $3.5 billion on modernising the military as a threat to the delicate balance of power between the two nations? If they do, how will they respond?" It also asked whether Pakistan can "really afford to indulge in another battle for supremacy in armaments when a host of other problems including energy and water crisis and the relocation of displaced people, are issues that will not be solved by spending large sums on advanced weaponry".
The editorial sounded a word of caution when it said that "if Pakistan government is considering increasing military spending to resume the arms race that (Prime Minister Nawaz) Sharif stated was `wasted resources' last year, they must remember where their priorities lie". "The Indian government’s rationale for increasing the defence budget by 12 percent to defend the borders of the country is consistent with the shift in the Indian government’s ideology to more nationalistic elements under (Indian) Prime Minister Narendra Modi," it said.
The daily also noted that the "BJP led government is probably not basing this choice solely on the threat they fear from Pakistan, and China will have been just as much of a concern for Modi’s government in their consideration for increasing military spending". The editorial went on to say that Nawaz Sharif has "been urging to improve ties with India". "But it is also important to remember how the Nawaz government reacted to Operation Shakti in May 1998. When India conducted five nuclear tests, Pakistan conducted six," the editorial concluded.