Dose India need more Missiles or More Industries?

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Essay Contest for UPSC Exam for IAS

In 1947, India did not have any modern missile system. From there we came a long
way and missile programs kept flourishing in India. As a result of which, we moved
from Prithvi I to Agni V and still continuing. From having no missiles, we moved to
have surface to surface missiles (Prithvi I, Prahar), air to air missiles (Astra) and now
even Intercontinental missiles (Agni V). It is not that only India is working towards
development of missiles. All nations, whether big or small, developed or
undeveloped, works to strengthen their defensive capabilities. India spends approx
2.4% of its GDP in defence. At the same time, USA spends 3.2%, Saudi Arabia
8.8%, Russia 3.9%, South Korea 2.6%. If missiles, i.e. the defence is not so
important then why all the nations are continually spending billions per year to
bolster their defence might? The two World Wars and hundreds of battles that have
been fought in history proves that only the mightier lives on to write the history. If
there be no missiles who would take care of industries, who will protect them from
falling into the hands of the predator? If we imagine an utopian world with nations
without any missiles, i.e. defences, what would happen then? Nations can’t exist
then, there would be no boundaries, no leaders, no rules. Owing to the huge world
population, small hordes would form again and we would be retracting towards stone
age. Hordes would fight among themselves to establish supremacy, to gain essential
resources and to survive. Where would be the place for industries in such a world?
A world full of love, people brimming with moral values, no lust for power does not
and cannot exist except in imagination. Since, the rate of development of India’s
missile programme is not hampering its development in any other way, hence its no
point to stall or obstruct it for something else. Around 97-98% of GDP of India is
for purposes other than defence. The problem is not channelling of money towards
something but not proper utilisation of channelled money due to still existing
parasites such as corruption, lackadaisical approach, excessive paper work, granting
less priority, moving to courts which results in halt of process, not proper infiltration
of knowledge and procedure upto third tier of government and so on.
More the industries, more the GDP, better the economy and better will be the living
conditions of every citizen. Prosperity brings happiness which in turn leads to a
healthy and longer life. More industries also leads to more employment and
reduction in crime because as more persons gets employed, there remains less
malefactors in the society. Malnutrition, schooling have always been a problem for poor and that arises because of unemployment. More industries give them a chance to work and their children to live a good social life and their elders a respectful life. It looks good to see that India is the 5th largest economy by nominal GDP and 3rd largest by Purchasing Power Parity. However, the dark side is that, on a per capita income basis, India ranks 139 by nominal GDP and 118 by GDP(PPP). These figures are not very inspiring. Only the industries be they manufacturing, transport, agriculture, IT, construction, pharmaceuticals or any else possesses the might to improve India's condition. India has the best demographic dividend today. It has a pool of talent only waiting for an opportunity to be unleashed. Start up India, TIDE, AIM and such programmes have helped India to continually jump in Global Innovation Index where it now stands at 48th position. This shows the resilience and innovative mindset of our citizens. So, if these startups of today could flourish into big industries of tomorrow, then India would be running in the path of development very rapidly. All nations that stands in the league of developed nations are those who have meticulously focussed on development of their industries. Europe became developed only after ushering through the industrial revolution. A similar revolution is required by our nation also. Hence, we need to focus more and more on development of industries.
Does India need more missiles or more industries? Asking this question is like asking 'Do we need more muscles or more brain?' Both are equally important. Similarly, missiles are important to defend our boundaries from external aggression as well as from militant activities so that the industries could work effectively. Likewise, industries gives the boost to economy which let us develop new R&D technology, buy better missiles and spend on defence programmes. Both are not opposite to each other but are indistinguishable. If nation is a family. Then, industries are like mother who feed the children and missiles are like father who protect the family in all odd situations. Industrial revolution and missile programme development should move together. Plus and minus is possible depending upon the prevailing situation, only requirement is that one should not have any prejudices. Both needs to be seen through same lens and development of both can only lead to national development as a whole.

-Jayant Joshi

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