I've asked myself for a few years if India should really be spending money on missiles, space programs, etc., when hundreds of millions in my country are malnourished and poor. I hadn't arrived at an answer till today, because the thought that India should first curb poverty and only then move to "discretionary" expenditures such as missiles and space launches had continued to make me think.
India successfully tested the Agni-V ICBM today, and further strengthened its strategic deterrence capability. I was reading the news about this launch on The Washington Post, and came across this comment by a reader:
"gratz on being another country with ability to vapourize millions at the push of a button while millions in your own Country bathe in open sewers and eat rat on a stick as a special treat."
I asked myself, is this person right? Should we be feeding our people instead of developing missiles? Then the fate of the countries which didn't have strong military defense/strike capabilities [but, of course, did have some type of lucrative wealth - oil or otherwise] struck me. These nations - Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya - have been destroyed, humiliated and eaten up by the insatiable greed of the West. Their resources have been robbed, their infrastructure has been burnt to ashes, their women have been raped, and their men blown to dust by unending showers of bombs and missiles [official figures from the US say that 7,700 bombs were dropped on Libya to, laughably, "protect the civilians"]. Why? Because all of these countries have wealth but didn't have enough military capability to protect their wealth from murderers, robbers, scoundrels and thieves.
Two dead Iraqi children lie together shortly before a funeral ceremony in Ramadi, Iraq, west of Baghdad, Wednesday, May 19, 2004. A U.S. helicopter fired on a wedding party in the remote desert near the border with Syria, killing more than 40 people, most of them women and children, Iraqi officials said. The U.S. military said it was investigating. (Source: Cryptome)
Case in point is North Korea. Why doesn't the West militarily strike North Korea, the way it is planning to bomb Iran and Syria? It's because of the single reason that the North possesses enough deterrence in the form of nuclear weapons. North Koreans might be poor, but at least they're alive and safe in their homes!
I would rather see Indians alive and bathing in open sewers, than see them killed and blown to pieces by American missiles. And so India must spend on both food and missiles, or else it too shall be a victim of the West's greed one day. That's the answer I've got today :)
Update [May'12]: Just found a funny, related cartoon.
Update [Jan'16]: North Korea rightfully justified its development and testing of miniature hydrogen bombs [thermonuclear bombs] by citing the fate of Iraq [and Saddam Hussein] and Libya [and Muammar Gaddafi]. It'll suffer a similar fate if it doesn't continue developing ultra-powerful weapons.
Update [Apr'17]: North Korea is absolutely right. If it didn't have/develop nuclear weapons, America would bomb it just like that, the way it has recently fires missiles at Syria.