Islamabad: The nearly 11 per cent hike in India's military budget will create a "new edge of tension" in Indo-Pak ties against the backdrop of New Delhi's "increasingly belligerent stance" and hostility, Pakistani media reported on Monday.
Two days after India increased its defence budget by 10.95 per cent to Rs 2.46 lakh crore for the next fiscal as compared to the revised estimates of Rs 2.22 lakh crore for 2014-15, an editorial titled 'Clear Intent' in The News International said it was "unfortunate that both countries" lay so much focus on defence spending.
"...In recent months New Delhi has been taking an increasingly belligerent stance as far as Pakistan goes, with skirmishes taking place along the Line of Control and hostile language used again and again.
"Against this backdrop the increase in the military budget will create a new edge of tension between the two neighbours," said the editorial in the newspaper considered close to Pakistani military.
The editorial called it "unfortunate" that both India and Pakistan, partially as a result of these tensions, "lay so much focus on defence spending rather than on improving the quality of lives for citizens".
"This cycle needs to be ended," it said ahead of Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's visit to Islamabad tomorrow.
It said that the strong stress placed by the Indian Finance Minister while announcing the budget on defending every inch of the country's territory "sends out a message that makes it obvious that India is not in its most peaceful phase".
"The jump in its military spending will lead to similar demands and developments at home. This is only natural. But it impedes the efforts to build greater harmony in the region and create normalcy between the two South Asian neighbours which have fought three wars since 1947," it said.
Another editorial in the Dawn said the Indian military remains the principal threat to Pakistan's security and, hence, the Pakistani security establishment is right in closely tracking Indian defence spending.
"The Pakistani security establishment is right to closely track Indian defence spending because India remains, in terms of its military capabilities, the principal threat to Pakistan's security. But a rational, logical perspective is really what is needed rather than the wild conjecturing in some hawkish quarters.
"Simply, much as some in India would like to separate the question of competing with China from the need to manage risk with Pakistan, the overall Indian military capability will send a message in both directions. Stability will only come from advancing dialogue with Pakistan," the editorial titled 'Defence Anxieties' said.