India is now one of the world’s five biggest military spenders, according to a Swedish arms watchdog.
In its report released on May 2, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute India’s (SIPRI) says India’s spending increased in 2017 and it now occupies the fifth spot after US, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
India spent US$63.9 billion on defence in 2017, an increase of 5.5 per cent compared with 2016, when it occupied the sixth spot. Its spending in 2017 was higher than that of France (US$57.8 billion), the UK (US$47.2 billion) and Germany (US$44.3 billion).
The total global military expenditure rose to US$1,739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016.
“Continuing high world military expenditure is a cause for serious concern,” Jan Eliasson, chair of the SIPRI governing board.
“It undermines the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world,” he said.
The spending has increased following tensions with China and Pakistan. The hike also includes salary bills for about 1.4 million serving personnel and pensions for more than 2 million veterans and projects worth billions of dollars relating to combat jets, helicopters, warships, artillery guns and infantry weapons.
China, the second largest spender globally, increased its defence spending by 5.6 per cent per cent to an estimated US$228 billion in 2017. China’s spending as a share of global military expenditure rose from 5.8 per cent in 2008 to 13 per cent in 2017. Its spending also accounted for 48 per cent of the Asian total and was 3.6 times that of the region’s second largest spender, India.
The list of the world’s biggest military spenders has remained consistent in recent years, dominated by the US and China, which spent US$610 billion and US$228 billion respectively in 2017.
SIPRI said the US military spending remained unchanged between 2016 and 2017. However, Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998.