New Delhi: India emerged as the world’s 5th biggest military spender, ahead of its arch rival Pakistan, says a new report from a European think tank.
Three out of the top five military spenders are from Asia, suggesting how military conflicts are spreading across the subcontinent. While India was beaten by China and Saudi Arabia, the list of world’s top 15 military spenders doesn’t include Pakistan.
With a spending of $611 billion and a year-on-year growth of 1.7%, the USA remains the top most military spender in the world followed by China with a spending of $245 billion and a growth of 5.4%.
However, by the Chinese standard, the growth rate is lower than what the communist country achieved in the past.
Russia comes third on the list with a spending of $69.2 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia. The Arab nation was the third largest spender in 2015 but dropped to fourth position in 2016 as its spending dropped by 30% in 2016 to touch $63.7 billion, despite its continued involvement in regional wars.
India’s military expenditure grew by 8.5% in 2016 to touch an overall spending of $55.9 billion, making it the fifth largest spender, says the latest report from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The SIPRI report, titled Trends in World’s Military Expenditure, 2016, represents a period when former defence minister Manohar Parrikar, cleared military projects worth Rs 400,714 crores spanning over two fiscals. As many as 141 contracts with total value of approximately Rs 2,00,010 crore were signed in the same period.
India moved from 7th to 5th place after its largest annual spending increase since 2009. Between 2007 and 2016, China has seen the biggest growth in military spending, with an increase of 118%, followed by Russia (87%) and India (54%).
Notably, five of the top 15 global spenders are in Asia and Oceania: China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
“China had by far the highest military spending in the region: an estimated $215 billion, or 48 per cent of regional spending. This amount is almost four times that of India’s total, which is the second largest in the region at $55.9 billion,” the report said
World military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to $ 1686 billion in 2016 —the first consecutive annual increase since 2011 when spending reached its peak of $ 1699 billion.
The growth in US military expenditure in 2016 may signal the end of a trend of decreases in spending, which resulted from the economic crisis and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.