Nations defence spending

Total world military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

China, the second largest spender globally, increased its military spending by 5.6 per cent to $228 billion in 2017. China’s spending as a share of world military expenditure has risen from 5.8 per cent in 2008 to 13 per cent in 2017. India spent $63.9 billion on its military in 2017, an increase of 5.5 per cent compared with 2016, while South Korea’s spending, at $39.2 billion, rose by 1.7 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year. 

‘Continuing high world military expenditure is a cause for serious concern,’ said Ambassador Jan Eliasson, Chair of the SIPRI Governing Board. ‘It undermines the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world.’

The United States, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia were the leading four last year in military spending. “The Indian government plans to expand, modernise and enhance the operational capability of its armed forces, motivated at least partially by tensions with China and Pakistan,” the report read.

World’s biggest military spenders  in recent years, dominated by the US and China, which spent US$610 billion and US$228 billion last year respectively, according to the SIPRI.

At $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016, the first annual decrease since 1998. ‘Military modernization remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by economic problems that the country has experienced since 2014,’ said Siemon Wezeman.

Japan in eighth spot for military spending, its defence outlays for the year starting April 1 were due to rise for a sixth straight year, going up by 1.3 per cent to 5.19 trillion yen (US$45.76 billion), according to a budget breakdown published by its government last month.

China’s military spending was 3.6 times that of India, which was the region’s second-largest spender. China has pledged to raise its military spending by 8.1 per cent this year, after its 2017 total showed an increase of 5.6 per cent compared with 2016.

US geopolitical intelligence company Stratfor in January revealed that both countries have been actively bolstering their military presence near the border.

Seven of the 10 countries with the highest military burden are in the Middle East: Oman (12 per cent of GDP), Saudi Arabia (10 per cent of GDP), Kuwait (5.8 per cent of GDP), Jordan (4.8 per cent of GDP), Israel (4.7 per cent of GDP), Lebanon (4.5 per cent of GDP) and Bahrain (4.1 per cent of GDP).

Worldwide military spending rose marginally last year to US$1.73 trillion, or roughly 2.2 per cent of global gross domestic product, the SIPRI said.

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