The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has revealed that India was the sixth biggest military spender in 2015, as the South Asian country moved up one position in the global rankings.

According to a study conducted by the SIPRI that monitors developments in military expenditure worldwide, India’s share of global military expenditure (of the 15 states with the highest spending) was 3.1% in 2015. The Institute expressed serious concern over the growing military spending in Asia and Australia, saying that there was a 5.4% increase in military spending in Asia last year. As per the report, the Asian countries increased their defence budget by 64% to USD 436 billion between 2006 and 2015. As far as India’s neighbourhood is concerned, China spent USD 215 billion for defence purposes in 2015 and the amount was 49% of total regional spending. China’s spending was more than four times that of India, which is the second-largest spender in Asia.

SIPRI clearly said: “India’s military spending in 2015 was USD 51.3 billion, an increase of 0.4%. India plans to increase military expenditure by about 8% (in real terms) in 2016, partly to fund many large ongoing and planned procurement programmes.”

Military Expenditure In Asia & Oceania
tabla-koushik *Total excludes Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan Source: SIPRI

Meanwhile, American research firm IHS Inc. has claimed that India is the world’s fourth largest spender on defence after a 13.1% increase in its 2016-17 defence budget. According to IHS, the volume of India’s defence expenditure was USD 50.7 billion. The firm explained that India jumped to the fourth position because of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s decision to decrease military spending. Moscow and Riyadh made such a decision, as low oil prices put considerable strain on their economies.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Limited and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham – an Indian industry lobby group) have mentioned in a joint report that the South Asian country has secured its place among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of its military expenditure and import of defence equipment. The joint report also mentioned that India allocated around 1.8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending in 2015.

Although the US maintained its status as the world’s biggest spender in 2015, its expenditure fell by 2.4% to USD 596 billion. Other top spenders were China (USD 215 billion, +7.4%), Saudi Arabia (USD 87.2 billion, +5.7%) and Russia (USD 66.4 billion, +7.5%). On the other hand, Venezuela (64%), Angola (42%), Bahrain, Brunei, Chad, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Oman and South Sudan decreased their military expenditure in the last one year.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]