ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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KASHMIR- Defending National-Cultural Identity

that context that the threat to India's security had increased under a weak National Front government. Nettled by Congress(I), V P Singh would appear to have been guided by reflex action. He declared the other day that there would be no cut in defence expenditure. This ended the slim hope in the finance ministry of finding a way to reduce the burgeoning budgetary deficit and of the planners in Yojana Bhavan of finding more resources to revive the emasculated socio-economic development process. The security drum-beaters on both sides of the political-electoral fence, while obscuring the fact that a token cut in defence allocation in the current year's budget was actually proposed by the Rajiv government, have thus cleverly managed to fend off a substantive cut in defence expenditure under the NF government which pretends to be committed to the promotion of a peaceful and friendly foreign policy, especially towards the neighbouring countries. However, it would not be amiss to mention that critical questions have begun to be asked about the steep rise in the levels of defence expenditure in particular since 1987-88 and the doubts which have been Widely entertained in that context about India's position and role as a regional power and its relations with neighbouring countries. The wastage in defence expenditure and sub- optimal use of scarce resources for defence preparedness have also come under sharp focus in particular in the wake of purchases .of costly weapon systems from foreign sources. The suspicion of kickbacks and corruption in high places in defence deals has very greatly exercised public opinion.

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