Islamabad: The Pakistan government has proposed a roughly 16 per cent increase in the defence budget as the country continues to face internal and external security challenges, the media reported.
Interestingly, all three services — Army, Navy, Air Force — were given an equal increase in the budget, although the military takes the major share given its size and role, The Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan’s defence spending is now 1.7 per cent of its GDP, showing a decline compared to last year.
The defence spending in 2022-23 was around 2 per cent of the country’s GDP, the size of which has grown due to the rebasing of the economy, The Express Tribune reported.
Defence spending has always been the subject of discussions with some seeking greater transparency and open debate about the military’s budget.
In recent years, the government provides more details about the defence budget.
However, there has never been an open debate within the parliament on the subject.
Observers believe that the increase in the defence budget is justified given the impending external and internal security challenges, The Express Tribune reported.
Despite the US troops withdrawal from neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan still deploys thousands of troops along the western border as well as in the erstwhile tribal areas to deal with the threat of terrorism.
The budget document shows that defence outlay for 2023-24 would be 1,804 billion PKR compared to the revised defence spending of 1,591 billion PKR earmarked for the outgoing fiscal year.