Pakistani Navy Chief Adm. Syed Arifullah Hussaini was speaking with Ceylon Today on the sidelines of the Galle Dialogue 2016 which is an International Maritime Conference where he hesitantly admitted that Pakistan cannot afford an arms race with India.

On the question of whether the Pakistan navy was trying to keep the balance of power in the South Asian region vis-a-vis India, he said, “We don’t want to maintain any particular power ratio. Our policy is to avoid & deter war. If you want to stop a war, there should be a minimum credible deterrence. So we’ll maintain minimum, comprehensive & credible deterrence. There are traditional conflicts & there are low-intensity conflicts. We want to deter all kinds of aggression that will harm us. Defending ourselves is a legitimate right, so to ensure that we will do what it takes. But we do not want to get into an arms race because, for us, the progress & prosperity of our people are more important.”

Even though indirect, this is a major admission. He only talks about deterrence & how to safeguard Pakistan. Neither of Pakistan’s armed forces – whether it be the army, the navy, or the air force – can contest with India in an arms race. Never would such an admission be heard from a Pakistan Army chief or senior army officer because their existence is solely based on false threats & creating an image of superiority in comparison to India’s army.

Comparison between the two navies

  • Budget (India’s is 10 times Pakistan’s) –

India $8.1 billion

Pakistan $0.8 billion

  • Total Naval Strength –

India 295

Pakistan 197

  • Aircraft Carriers can be said to be as ‘seagoing airbases’ that are equipped with full-length flight decks & facilities for carrying, arming, deploying & recovering aircrafts

India 2

Pakistan 0

  • Submarines are capable of attacking naval assets & even land-based targets from far-off locations

India 14

Pakistan 5

  • Frigates are multi-role vessel type combatants that are designed for fleet protection & even submarine hunting

India 14

Pakistan 10

  • Destroyers are advanced vessels designed to counter threats from the air, on the surface & under the surface

India 10

Pakistan 0

  • Corvettes are supplied with a balanced mix of firepower, ocean-going capabilities & rotary-wing support

India 26

Pakistan 0

  • Patrol Craft are essential for defending offshore waters from enemy incursions

India 135

Pakistan 12

  • Mine Warfare Craft are made to counter the threat of mines to warships & shipping vessels, & to even lay down a minefield

India 6

Pakistan 3

  • One of the most crucial differences between the two navies is that India can launch nuclear missiles from the sea, which Pakistan cannot!

    Vinayak Jain