Why are we subsidings India's Nuclear Weapons Programme ?

An interesting point made by many people after my last posting about India is that India is, according to them, a poor country that needs our support, which is why we are given them £825 million.

Looking on the internet though brings up some useful information about what India considers to be its priorities. Unlike the UK government, India does not consider its poor to be its main concern. Instead, an expensive nuclear programme is India's number one issue.

India gets away with not supporting the poor in its society because we (the UK) does it for them, and what happens to this money the Indian government saves ? It goes on weapons. India could introduce a proper education system throughout the country with the money it spends on nuclear weapons, but alas no.

According to the South Asian Journal ;

"A very conservative estimate of the cost of an Indian nuclear weapons programme suggests that at a minimum this would costs Rupeess. 800 billion over a decade at 1998-99 prices, or Rs. 700-800 billion a year. This is equivalent to an incremental cost of 0.5 percent of India's GDP every year. The dollar costs over a decade on an Indian nuclear weaponisation programme will be around US$. 16-19 billion (at the average 1998-99 market exchange rates) or US$. 81-93 billion (at the 1999 purchasing power parity, PPP, exchange rate). The larger component in these costs would be the outlays on delivery systems (missiles and nuclear submarines) and on a command and control system.

To give an idea of the financial implications of a Rs. 700-800 billion Indian nuclear weaponisation programme spread over a decade:

India's defence expenditure (revenue and capital) in 1998-99 was Rs. 398.97 billion, which was equivalent to 2.23 percent of GDP. (If India had begun a 10-year programme in 1998-99 to complete development of its nuclear arsenal then this would have raised this outlay by about 20 percent.)
The Government of India's own tax revenues in 1998-99 were Rs. 1046.52 billion. This means that every year 7-8% of every rupee collected as taxes would have to be used for creation of the nuclear arsenal.

An Indian nuclear weaponisation programme that would cost 0.5 percent of GDP a year is equivalent to the annual cost of introducing universal elementary education in India. This 'high' cost was for years cited as one of the reasons for not universalising elementary
education in India. The question then is of choosing between sending every Indian child to school and acquiring nuclear weapons, both of which are going to make similar financial demands on the Government of India. Although India's Parliament in 2001 enacted an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing elementary education to every Indian child, the initial financial allocations suggest that the government is giving a greater importance to nuclear weapons than to universal elementary education."

I do find it odd that the Lib Dems who argued against me are in favour of getting rid of the UK's nuclear weapons but support us giving £825 million to India whist it spends $19bn in US dollars in its nuclear programme.

If another person writes a comment telling me India is poor when it could afford £10bn in UK sterling on weapons then they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

I am not against UK overseas aid, but I want to see it spent on poor areas which don't have £10bn to waste on weapons, not on rich countries that care little for their own poorer citizens.


Margo said...

because george bush and dick cheney have to support all things westinghouse nuclear... don't know exactly why- stock holdings? at any rate, we began noticing they have supported all things westinghouse since we struggled with them over building an experimental incinerator to "remedy" westinghouse making Bloomington Indiana the biggest concentration of PCBs in the world...

Tim said...

Paul Collier's book, The bottom billion is very good on this issue. It is a great book more generally (see my and other reviews on Amazon.co.uk)

Ayesha said...

Every human being should have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Unfortunately, too many children in the world today grow up without this chance, because they are denied their basic right to even attend primary school. A sustainable end to world poverty as we know it, as well as the path to peace and security, requires that citizens in every country are empowered to make positive choices and provide for themselves and their families.
Lets all join this campaign:

Anonymous said...

Who gave the right to the five permanent members of the UN to possess nuclear weapons and nobody else should? This is hyporcracy at its best..Under NPT it was decided to reduce the nuclear stockpile of these nations..but little has been achieved and rather than getting rid of these WMD's they are making it more lethal..by improving its delivery systems...accuracy...
India dosen't need any tom dick and harry's advice on what to do and what not do to about its nuclear program and nor it needs the nuclear deal..
As long as big 5 countries have nuclear arsenal, should India..
Better practice before you preach..

A friend from India

Norfolk Blogger said...

You have not read what I wrote. I am not debating the merits of India's Nuclear weapons. I am debating why the UK needs to subsidise India and send aid to India when India is hardly a poor country.

Yes, there is poverty in India, but if the Indian government sees Nuclear weapons as more important than dealing with poverty in India, why should the UK government foot the bill ?

Dark Rifler said...

I came upon this piece of bull accidently, and then I just couldn't resist. I will come to the anatomy of the supposed 'aid' to India later.

First the amount. 900 odd million pounds is peanuts. Let me assure you any scheme in India starts way over many billion dollars. As many have pointed out India is a HUGE economy, the supposed 'aid' would be more like a tiny piece of dessert after a meal.

Second, India is a hugely progressing economy. With the government being more liberal in economic policies there are huge opportunities for outside companies to establish , invest and have a chunk of the pie. A 'foreign aid' certainly makes a good case for a nation to establish trade relations and gain some competetive edge over other nations.

Third, India donates similarly large amount of 'aid' to nations. Afghanistan and African nations are a part of that list.

Fourth, and the one I find funniest, don't bloat yourself by pretending your aid runs India. Much less run, it is like a speck in the the huge machine called the India democracy which devours incomprehensible sums of resources.

And then remember that India invests huge money in defense and it's R&D. Despite that India spends much less percentage of GDP on defense that most of the nations on the planet. No wonder Indian defense is rated way above that of Britain or any other European nation, with the possible exception of Germany.

Norfolk Blogger said...

And that is exzactly my point, you utter arse. I didn't claim for one moment that UK aid was running India (I suggest you learn to read).

You are, without realising it, actually supporting my own point that India, a rich nation, should not be in receipt of UK aid and the UK aid ought to be going to nations that need the money and do not need such a large army.

Oh, and as for your defence spending, Indian forces are not noted for their high levels of training (compared to the UK), it has a history of buying ex-Royal navy ships and your aricraft are not a patch on the new Typhoon, so dream on.

Dark Rifler said...

As I said 'aid' is not something given out of compassion (except perhaps in cases of natural calamities). It's a part of diplomacy. You expect something in return. You further your interests.
Try to grasp the intricacies of trade. Altruism certainly is NOT a part of it.
And then calling India a rich nation is beyond logic. It is not. It is a developing economy.

And kiddo, Typhoon is a 4.5 generation aircraft. Same as the ones India uses. So if you have read in some comic book that typhoon outclasses Indian fighters, then I would hate to break your reverie. I hope that like other European nations, the UK has not bet all odds on Typhoon. Better 5th generation aircrafts are being built here ingeniously and well as partnered with Russia.
No wonder the RAF has brutally slashed the number of ordered Typhoons and BAE is hardselling those to India. It's a different matter that India would never buy those.
Regarding the only old ship of British origin India is currently using was bought decades back and is about to be decommissioned and replaced.

And sweetie, it's best if clowns don't pass on judgments on how trained which soldiers are. We don't want to make this a comedy show, do we?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Well done. Piggybacking on Russian technology. How advanced.

Oh, and don't bother responding or wasting your effort. Deleting is sooo easy.

Amit Agarwal said...

Hi Norfork,
I suggest that the UK must definitely stop aiding the Indian government in that case.It must rather send the same aid to DRDO and the defense establishment if they really support the cause of NPT and nuclear disarmament and also support the cause of elementary education as the Indian government will now be able to use its precious money to better benefit the "Rashtriya Saksharta Abhiyan" - National Education Programme.
This wouldn't cause any resentments and would only go about in making the relationship of the two countries stronger.
I am glad that you brought this topic into discussion.
Cheers to the Guinness :)

Arun P said...

We're surrounded by Pakistan and China, two countries that are very belligerent towards us. Perhaps it suits you Europeans to have the Americans protect you but there's no one to protect us, you ass.

Norfolk Blogger said...

The ass is the someone who cannot follow a logical argument and instead tries to twist it - YOU ASS.

My point was NOT about India's right to build nuclear weapons but was instead asking why the UK has to spend £1 billion on helping the poor in India when the Indian government can find several billions £ to spend on a nuclear weapons programme. It the logic of a government feeding the family of a millionaire who spends all his money on fast cars.