India remains the third biggest military spender in the world, though far behind the US which spends more than 10 times and China which spends almost four times its defence budget.
Total global military expenditure rose to $1,981 billion in 2020, an increase of 2.6% in real terms from 2019 despite the global gross domestic product contracting by 4.4% mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s economic impact, latest data released by global thinktank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on Monday said.
“We can say with some certainty that the pandemic did not have a significant impact on global military spending in 2020. It remains to be seen whether countries will maintain this level of military spending through a second year of the pandemic,” said Dr Diego Lopes da Silva of 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%), Japan ($49.1 billion) and South Korea ($45.7 billion).
The top five together accounted for 62% of global military expenditure. China’s, in particular, grew for the 26th consecutive year, with its uninterrupted increase being the largest by far over the 2011-2020 decade. Pakistan ($10.3 billion) was ranked 23rd on the list.
India’s expenditure includes a huge pension bill for veterans and defence civilians. In the 2021-2022 defence budget, the pension bill was Rs 1.15 lakh crore out of the total Rs 4.78 lakh crore outlay.
India also has to maintain an over 15-lakh strong force because of unresolved borders with China and Pakistan.