India Among Top Five Countries With Biggest Military Spending: Report
India's defense spending rose 5.5 per cent to $63.9 billion in 2017, according to report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Nudging France out of its position, India is now among the top five countries with biggest military spending, according to a report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on May 2. The United States and China dominate the rankings, with defense expenditures of about $610 billion and $228 billion, respectively.
India’s defense spending rose 5.5 per cent to $63.9 billion in 2017, showing the country’s growing reliance on imported weapons and personnel costs, as per SIPRI.
Worldwide military spending rose marginally in 2017 to $1.73 trillion, which is about 2.2 percent of global gross domestic product, the report said. The balance of military spending is “clearly shifting” toward Asia, Oceania and the Middle East, driven largely by spending increases in China, India and Saudi Arabia, the research group observed.
China spends the most on its military in Asia, with a rise of 13 per cent recorded in 2017 from 5.8 percent in 2008. The U.S Department of Defense assessment on Chinese military said that its leaders “seem committed to increases in defense spending for the foreseeable future, even as China’s economic growth slows,” with military expenditure rising from 8.5 per cent per year between 2007 and 2016. “Tensions between China and many of its neighbors continue to drive the growth in military spending in Asia,” Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher with the SIPRI AMEX programme, said in the report.
The rise in Indian defense spending goes to salaries and pensions of roughly 1.4 million serving personnel and more than 2 million veterans, Laxman Kumar Behera, a research fellow at New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. Since much of the money is being consumed by manpower costs, there isn’t enough left to buy state-of-the-art equipment, he added.
India’s Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Sarath Chand, told a parliamentary committee in March that only 14 per cent of the expenditure goes toward military modernization compared to 63 per cent for salaries.
In 2016, India was ranked by SIPRI as the world’s largest importer as its domestic manufacturing industry, despite the Modi government’s Make in India program, is delayed by bureaucratic red tape. The Ministry of Defense data shows that as procurement of equipment from Indian companies has declined, it has increased for foreign vendors.
In terms of world military spending, Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998 last year, while that by the United States remained constant for the second year.
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