//Global expenditure on defence crossed USD 1000 billion

Global expenditure on defence crossed USD 1000 billion

New Delhi, Nov 13,

India to remain a major arms purchaser

Global expenditure on defence has crossed the 1,000 billion US dollar mark and is still rising. The peace dividend of the end of the Cold War does not seem to have had the desired effect on global defence spending after showing some promise in the initial post-Cold War years, said an Indian minister here on Monday.

"At the most fundamental level, this expenditure has the effect of crowding out the spending on social sector. We do not live in a world that is free from hunger and want. Even a fraction of the money that the world spends on defence could make a difference to the lives of millions of people across the world who live in abject poverty and suffer from deprivation of survival needs, said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the inauguration of the three-day International Seminar on Defence Finance and Economics organized by the Department of Defence Finance in the Ministry of Defence.

"The irony, however, is that the increasing defence outlays are becoming necessary for the safety of those very people, as also of those who do not suffer from similar denial," he said.

He said what adds to the sombre note to such irony is the fact that the defence outlays almost always fall short of the expectations of the defence planners in individual countries, whatever be the state of their military capability.

He said there was a need to strike a balance between those two seemingly contradictory positions which, he said, is what this seminar seeks to achieve by focusing on the issues that hold the key to the paradox.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, in his special address at the three-day seminar, visualised a greater role for the private sector in defence production and made it clear that the defence's loss-making public sector undertakings could not not keep on depending on government bailouts.

Nearly 500 delegates from across the country and abroad came together in New Delhi to take part in the first-ever, three-day Int'l Seminar on Defence Finance and Economics (ISDFE).

Foreign delegates, numbering about 80 coming from 28 different countries including the United States, UK and China, are the participants in the seminar.

The seminar seeks to comprehensively address all issues relating to defence planning, acquisition, expenditure, optimization and oversight issues.