File image of India's Akash surface-to-air missile
India has emerged the third-largest military spender in the world in 2019. This is the first time India featured in the top three countries vis-à-vis military spending, with the United States leading the list, followed by China, a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on April 27 revealed.
While China’s military expenditure increased by 5.1 percent to $261 billion in 2019, the same for India rose 6.8 percent to $71.1 billion. In Asia and Oceania, Japan at $47.6 billion and South Korea at $43.9 billion, were the highest military spenders in the region that has seen defence expenditure rise steadily year-on-year since 1989.
Commenting on the probable reason behind this spike in the figure, Siemon T Wezeman, a Senior Researcher at SIPRI said: “India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China are among the major drivers for its increased military spending.”
Global military spending saw largest increase in decade in 2019; China, India in top 3: Study
As per the report on Trends in World Military Expenditure, global military expenditure in 2019 totalled nearly $1,917 billion, the highest in the past 30 years. Of this, 62 percent was spent by the United States, China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
According to a Hindustan Times report, in the past three decades, India’s military spending increased by 259 percent, while in the last 10 years it grew by 37 percent. However, the SIPRI report mentions, that the country’s military spending plummeted from 2.7 percent as a percentage of GDP in 2010 to 2.4 percent in 2019.
The growth in defence spending over the past decade can be attributed to multiple factors such as increasing salary of nearly 1.4 million personnel serving in the security forces and pensions for more than 2 million former military personnel. That apart, a large amount was also spent on procuring new combat jets, choppers, missiles, warships, artillery, etc, to enhance India’s capabilities.