Where is the peace dividend?
The largest relative increases in military expenditure in Asia Ocenia region were by Indonesia (28 per cent), Mongolia (26 per cent), the Philippines (12 per cent) and Bangladesh (11 per cent). The largest falls were Timor-Leste (51 per cent), Sri Lanka (14 per cent) and Thailand (12 per cent).
That’s from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (hat tip: Rumi bhai). According to SIPRI database, Bangladesh spent 91.8 billion taka on defence in 2010. Military spending in 2008 was only 62.6 billion taka. That’s a whopping 29 billion taka increase in the two years of the current government.
SIPRI has data going back to 1988. This kind of increase is unprecedented — see the chart over the fold.
Why is the defence spending sky rocketing? Are we facing worsening security risk?
Surely not from across the border! Under this government, Bangladesh has extricated itself from the mess that is north and eatern India. Gen Mubeen, the army chief, is visiting India, taking salutes from newly minted cadets in their army. Surely no one expects any attack from India.
From Myanmar? When that country is opening up, and being rewarded with a visit by Secretary Clinton?
So internal threat perhaps? But from whom?
Not the Islamists. When was the last jihadi attack?
Insurgents in CHT? I thought the Prime Minister deserves a Nobel for the peace effort there. But hey, if Obama can get one, then why can’t she?
Or is it about boosting up the DGFI with expensive surveilance equipment?
Perhaps it’s the army that the government feels insecure about? Perhaps this is blood money for Pilkhana?
Whatever it is, there is no peace dividend for the citizens under the second Hasina government.