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India remains 4th largest military spender in 2023, SIPRI report claims expenses up by 47 per cent since 2013

India was the fourth largest military spender globally in 2023. At $83.6 billion, its military expenditure was 4.2 per cent higher than in 2022.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: April 23, 2024 16:12 IST
Brahmos missiles
Image Source : AP Brahmos missiles

SIPRI report 2023: Amid the spiralling situation, India, the most populous country on the Earth, increased its military expenditure by 4.2 per cent last year, thus retaining the fourth position among the top military spenders globally. The report was released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an institute founded in 1966 that provides data, analysis and recommendations for armed conflict, military expenditure and arms trade as well as disarmament and arms control.

The report published on Monday placed India as the fourth largest military spender globally in 2023. At $83.6 billion, its military expenditure was 4.2 per cent higher than in 2022. Earlier in 2022, India’s military spending stood at $81.4 billion, nearly 6 per cent more than that in 2021. It means the military expenditure has increased 47 per cent since the Narendra Modi government came into power in 2014. 

Which country spends most on the military?

The report said that the total global military expenditure reached $2,443 billion in 2023, an increase of 6.8 per cent in real terms from 2022. This was the steepest year-on-year increase since 2009. The 10 largest spenders in 2023—led by the United States, China and Russia—all increased their military spending, according to new data on global military spending.

"The unprecedented rise in military spending is a direct response to the global deterioration in peace and security," said Nan Tian, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. "States are prioritizing military strength but they risk an action-reaction spiral in the increasingly volatile geopolitical and security landscape," added Tian.

Why India is increasing its military expenditure

Notably, New Delhi has been increasing military spending steadily for the past 10 years, but the growth soared tremendously following a border clash with China in 2020. At least 20 Indian soldiers were martyred when the Chinese soldiers attacked in the Galwan Valley.

Earlier, India considered Pakistan as its greatest enemy amid constant attacks by the Pakistani military-sponsored terror attacks in the border regions, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, the 2008 Mumbai attack was also a key region for India's concerns against the Pakistani terror outfits. However, the terror attacks have reduced significantly following the Indian government's decision to scrap Article 370 which provided special status to the valley.

Currently, New Delhi's main concern revolves around the India-China border. The government is aiming to modernise its military with fighter jets, helicopters, warships, tanks, artillery guns, rockets and missiles, unmanned capabilities and other combat systems. Earlier last year, it also introduced the "Agniveer" scheme to recruit personnel. The main aim was to minimise spending on salary and other services and to provide a boost to technological advancement. 

In the interim budget presented on February 1 this year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman set aside Rs 6.21 lakh crore for defence spending, which accounts for 1.89 per cent of the country's projected gross domestic product (GDP) for 2024-25.

China also increased its military expenditure 

It is worth mentioning the latest report underscored that China, the world’s second-largest military spender, allocated an estimated $296 billion to the military in 2023, an increase of 6.0 per cent from 2022. This was the 29th consecutive year-on-year rise in China’s military expenditure. China accounted for half of total military spending across the Asia and Oceania region. Several of China’s neighbours have linked their own spending increases to China’s rising military expenditure. 

"China is directing much of its growing military budget to boost the combat readiness of the People’s Liberation Army," said Xiao Liang, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. "This has prompted the governments of Japan, Taiwan and others to significantly build up their military capabilities, a trend that will accelerate further in the coming years," added Liang.

Where does Israel stand?

Israel’s military spending—the second largest in the region after Saudi Arabia—grew by 24 per cent to reach $27.5 billion in 2023, according to the SIPRI report. The spending increase was mainly driven by Israel’s large-scale offensive in Gaza in response to the attack on southern Israel by Hamas in October 2023.

"The large increase in military spending in the Middle East in 2023 reflected the rapidly shifting situation in the region—from the warming of diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab countries in recent years to the outbreak of a major war in Gaza and fears of a region-wide conflict," said Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. 

Also Read: India-US jet engine deal is revolutionary, will provide a great capability to Delhi: Defence Secy


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