India’s military spending of $76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world followed by the US and China, stated Sweden based think-tank — Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) — in its report published on Monday.
The report stated that India’s military spending was up by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012. In a push to strengthen the indigenous arms industry, 64 per cent of capital outlays in the military budget of 2021 were earmarked for acquisitions of domestically produced arms.
India is facing the threat of a two-front war — from China and Pakistan. Since 2020, India has been engaged in border dispute at Line of Actual Control with China.
The report also stated total global military expenditure has increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms in 2021, to reach $2,113 billion.
It stated that the five largest spenders in 2021 were the US, China, India, the UK and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure, according to new data on global military spending.
World military spending continued to grow in 2021, reaching an all-time high of $2.1 trillion. This was the seventh consecutive year that spending increased.
“Even amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels,” said Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
“There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation. In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1 per cent.”
As a result of a sharp economic recovery in 2021, the global military burden — world military expenditure as a share of world gross domestic product (GDP), fell by 0.1 percentage points, from 2.3 per cent in 2020 to 2.2 per cent in 2021.
Meanwhile, the US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.
“US funding for military research and development (R&D) rose by 24 per cent between 2012 and 2021, while arms procurement funding fell by 6.4 per cent over the same period. In 2021 spending on both decreased. However, the drop in R&D spending (-1.2 per cent) was smaller than that in arms procurement spending (-5.4 per cent),” the report stated.
“The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012-21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. The US government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors.
Russia increased its military expenditure by 2.9 per cent in 2021, to $65.9 billion, at a time when it was building up its forces along the Ukrainian border. This was the third consecutive year of growth and Russia’s military spending reached 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2021.
As it has strengthened its defences against Russia, Ukraine’s military spending has risen by 72 per cent since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Spending fell in 2021, to $5.9 billion, but still accounted for 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP.
China, the world’s second largest spender, allocated an estimated $293 billion to its military in 2021, an increase of 4.7 per cent compared with 2020. China’s military spending has grown for 27 consecutive years. The 2021 Chinese budget was the first under the 14th Five-Year Plan, which runs until 2025.