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Is War in Asia imminent? Region locked in an arms race reminiscent of pre-WWI Europe

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/19/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

India remains region's top arms buyer.

Asia is gripped in an arms race that has both India and China on a collision course. Both nations are very populous and very industrious, and both are increasing military spending. India now accounts for 14 percent of all world arms purchases.

Asia is locked in an arms race, but will it lead to war?

Asia is locked in an arms race, but will it lead to war?

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/19/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: India, China, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines, Korea, arms race, WWI, war, resources, superpower


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Homer, "the sword itself incites to violence." If this is true, then India may soon develop capability in Asia unparalleled by all but China. India now accounts for 14 percent of the world's arms purchases and has more than doubled its arms imports over the past decade.

Most of the arms India employs are provided by Russia.

Pray to end all wars.

The United States and Russia are still the world's largest arms producers, a product of the Cold War, now long ended, but threatening in many ways to reignite. Both are looking to emerging markets to bolster sales.

Until recently, European buyers have demanded most of the world's weapons, but now as Third World nations undergo industrialization and find a modicum of prosperity, they are purchasing arms to defend their resources and territory from their neighbors. The result is that the entire planet is slowly militarizing while the USA and Russia cash in.

India continues to increase military spending and imports of arms, mostly from Russia.

India continues to increase military spending and imports of arms, mostly from Russia.


India also has nuclear weapons at its disposal.

India also has nuclear weapons at its disposal.


India has tested several nuclear weapons and could use them in a war against Pakistan.

India has tested several nuclear weapons and could use them in a war against Pakistan.


India remains a top buyer. Asia in general is the primary destination for most arms imports over other regions, accounting for 47 percent of the world's purchases. South Korea, often goaded by the North is another large-scale buyer.

China now manages to manufacture most of their own arms, yet that nation has designs on superpower status. As part of that plan, the nation has dramatically increased its military spending and may be second, behind just the United States, in overall spending.

The Chinese Navy is rapidly expanding with more ships, subs, and at least one new aircraft carrier.

The Chinese Navy is rapidly expanding with more ships, subs, and at least one new aircraft carrier. China wants to be the regional superpower.


China has also become somewhat belligerent, claiming more sea zones and rich fishing grounds for its ow, going to far as to make thinly veiled threats against countries such as Japan and the Philippines. This increasingly aggressive posture has other nations in the region looking to purchase arms of their own and possibly to develop weapons systems of their own design. Japan has said they may have to arm themselves to as a hedge against possible aggression from both China and North Korea. The Philippines have asked to purchase U.S. manufactured ships to help protect its territory.

Pakistan has a substantial military, but it is smaller than India

Pakistan has a substantial military, but it is smaller than India's. However, many of its troops have seen action against the Taliban and other domestic terrorists.


Pakistan has the most to be concerned about. The domestic situation in Pakistan is always uncertain with restive native populations on the Afghan border, and a tumultuous political scene in the cities. Domestic terrorism is a common threat. In the meanwhile, the nation has a long-running conflict with India over control of the Kashmir region on its eastern border. Finally, both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons.

South Korea is arming itself for fear of a North Korean invasion.

South Korea is arming itself for fear of a North Korean invasion.


History tells us that conflict will arise naturally in this area. All the nations of the region are competing for an increasingly limited pool or resources. Fisheries are being depleted and hungry factories need to be fed raw materials to continue providing cheap products for the rest of the world. Asia is the world's most food insecure region on the planet. Finally, global climate change is impacting Asia hard, diminishing food supplies and contributing to poverty and disease. These are serious domestic problems that can sometimes be distracted by conflict.

Militaries serve as an expression of national pride, especially as they increase their sophistication. A century ago, this was Europe. Now, it is Southeast Asia.

The key difference is that the principal players now have nuclear weapons.

There's no need to question the wisdom of Homer. History has proven him right. It is only a matter of time.

---


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