India’s military spend fifth largest

The Asian Age.  | Sanjib Kr Baruah

India, All India

Expenditure in 2016 grew by 8.5 per cent, imports of global arms also up.

The chief reason behind India’s growing military spend is the lack of a domestic arms industry that can cater to the military needs. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Indian has become the world’s fifth largest spender on military, the latest report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has said. 

The report, released on Monday, said: “India’s military expenditure grew by 8.5 per cent in 2016 to $55.9 billion, making it the fifth largest spender,”

The figures include expenditure on the paramilitary forces of the Border Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Assam Rifles, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Sashastra Seema Bal but do not include spending on military nuclear activities. For the financial year 2017-18, India has further upped its military spend by 10 per cent.

The top four in the list of military spenders in 2016 are the United States ($611 billion), China ($215 billion), Russia ($69.2 billion and Saudi Arabia ($63.7 billion). In the top five, India had the highest percentage growth rate while spending by Saudi Arabia fell 30 per cent in 2016, despite its continued involvement in regional wars. Pakistan spent $9.93 billion on military, not figuring even in the top 15.

The total world military expenditure rose to $1,686 billion in 2016, an increase of 0.4 per cent in real terms from the previous year. Global military spending had peaked in 2011 — $1,699 billion.

“In Asia and Oceania, military expenditure rose by 4.6 per cent in 2016. Spending levels are related to the many tensions in the region such as over territorial rights in the South China Sea,” the report said. “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.” 

However, Dr Aude Fleurant, director of the SIPRI arms and military expenditure (AMEX) programme, said: “Future spending patterns remain uncertain due to the changing political situation in the USA.”

India remains the world’s biggest arms importer over the past five years, and increased its share of global arms imports from 9.7 per cent in 2007–11 to 12.8 per cent in 2012–16.

India, China, and Pakistan have been on the overdrive in importing arms over the past two decades. The general regional security dynamics is dominated by an Indian anxiety over China and Pakistan while Pakistan’s weapons’ acquisition is determined by a threat perception from India.

The chief reason behind India’s growing military spend is the lack of a domestic arms industry that can cater to the military needs.

In the five years from 2011 to 2016, Russia topped the list of India’s arms imports with 68.29 per cent, followed by US with 14.15 per cent, Israel with 7.19 per cent and United Kingdom with 4 per cent.