The Defense Ministry of Argentina has announced the increase of the national defense budget over the next five years in order to build a long-term agenda on the field.
The analyst and director of the Mercosur Defense and Security Magazine, Ricardo Burzaco, considers that the announcement represents Argentina´s determination to improve the current state of the security forces but that it is not a substantial hike regarding the country´s real military capability.
Back in July, president Cristina Fernandez established by decree the operation “North Shield” which aims to strengthen the surveillance of the land, sea and air spaces in Argentina´s northern region where drug-trafficking wreaks havoc.
The question of the defense budget also brings up the diplomatic conflict that Argentina holds these days with the UK over the sovereignty of the Falklands-Malvinas Islands.
Social perception of the Armed Forces in this country has been crossed not only by the Argentine defeat in the Malvinas War but also by the 1976-1983 military dictatorship when security forces carried out a fierce policy of persecution, torture and killing of thousands of left-wing activists, social and political leaders. In that way, Ms. Fernandez has recently called UNASUR member states to build a new defense paradigm through which the military forces become a supporting vehicle for economic development and social inclusion.
Some observers are skeptical about the announcement by the minister of defense as they consider this budget increase won't actually be enough for a real modernization of the Argentina's military forces but only to acquire equipment for the elementary air space control and to provide basic maintenance to current defense systems. This is where the government has made this clear that Argentina will always resolve discrepancies through diplomatic negotiations and the use of force will never be an option.
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