ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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ENVIRONMENT-Beyond Panchayats

Heavy Import Burden THE latest report from SIPRI, the Swedish institute that keeps track of the arms build up throughout the world, is that Asia, including south Asia, has beaten the Middle East to the second place in arms purchases, and within Asia the country that leads is none other than India. Arms imports by India during 1989 are estimated by SIPRI at S 3.9 billion, as against Japan's figure of S 3.4 billion, which ranks next. Thus on arms imports alone we spent Rs 6,700 crore in valuable foriegn exchange, i e, roughly one- fifth of the total import bill of Rs 34,000 crore or thereabouts in 1989. To have a still clearer measure of the scale of escalation in our arms imports, the figure for 1989 represents a doubling of the average annual imports over the preceding five years. A no less alarming aspect of the escalation in our arms imports is that our current foreign exchange reserves, estimated at around Rs 5,500 crore, are inadequate to finance even one year's arms imports at the level of 1989. And there is every likelihood that the level of our arms imports will increase further, given the current build up of war hysteria in the country.

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