India was the third-highest military spender in the world behind the US and China as the global defense expenditure reached an all-time high of $2.1 trillion in 2021, hitting record levels despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Monday.
According to data published by SIPRI, the top five military spenders—the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and Russia—accounted for 62 per cent of the global military expenditure.
SIPRI said India’s military spending, amounting to $76.6 billion in 2021, grew by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012. “Amid ongoing tensions and border disputes with China and Pakistan that occasionally spill over into armed clashes, India has prioritized the modernization of its armed forces and self-reliance in arms production,” according to the report.
The US accounted for 38 per cent of the global military spending, and China for about 14 per cent even as the UK moved up two ranks, spending $68.4 billion in 2021. The report noted that China’s military expenditure has grown for the 27th consecutive year. Senior Researcher Dr Nan Tian in a statement provided by SIPRI said, “China’s growing assertiveness in and around the South and the East China seas have become a major driver of military spending in countries such as Australia and Japan.”
Similarly, Russia also saw an increase in its military expenditure for the third consecutive year. Despite a decline in military expenditure between 2016 and 2019 due to sanctions imposed by the West in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, high oil and gas revenues helped Moscow to boost its spending in 2021, the report noted. In Ukraine, though military spending fell in 2021 to $5.9 billion, it still accounted for 3.2 per cent of its GDP.