India emerged as the world's third-largest military spender in 2020 while the US topped the list with China at the second spot, according to the latest report released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The 10 biggest military spenders were the US ($778 billion), China ($252 billion), India ($72.9 billion), Russia ($61.7 billion), UK ($59.2 billion), Saudi Arabia ($57.5 billion), Germany ($52.8 billion), France ($52.7 billion), Japan ($49.1 billion) and South Korea ($45.7 billion), as reported by the SIPRI organisation. Pakistan ( $10.3 billion) was ranked 23rd on the list.
India’s tally of such monumental defence budget figures includes the compensation paid to the army personnel throughout the country. As notified during the 2021 Defence budget session, the pension bill was Rs 1.15 lakh crore out of the total Rs 4.78 lakh crore outlay for the 33 lakh veterans and defence civilians.
India’s defence expenditure includes the pension paid to the army personnel under OROP throughout the country. As notified during the 2021 Defence budget session, the pension bill was Rs 1.15 lakh crore out of the total Rs 4.78 lakh crore outlay for the 33 lakh veterans and defence civilians.
Another big contributing factor to the Indian defence budget figure was the standoff with China on the Ladakh border. New Delhi had to ramp up emergency security forces around the border which absorbed a huge amount of money. Another unresolved and long-standing battle with Pakistani forces on the Jammu and Kashmir border has been an important factor too. The daily maintenance, running costs, salary bills and other similar expenditure has trumped the revenue expenditure for the capital outlay of military modernisation.
With a weak domestic defence-industrial base, India of course continues to languish in the strategically vulnerable position of being the world’s second-largest arms importer just behind Saudi Arabia. India accounted for 9.5% of the total global arms imports during 2016-2020.
Even though military spending rose globally, some countries explicitly reallocated part of their planned military spending to pandemic response, such as Chile and South Korea. Several others, including Brazil and Russia, spent considerably less than their initial military budgets for 2020.
Nearly all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) saw their military burden rise in 2020. As a result, 12 NATO members spent 2 per cent or more of their GDP on their militaries, the Alliance’s guideline spending target, compared with 9 members in 2019. France, for example, the 8th biggest spender globally, passed the 2 per cent threshold for the first time since 2009.