NEW DELHI: India jumped to the sixth spot in defence spending in 2015 at $51.3 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent from the previous year. A report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Tuesday noted that India planned to increase military expenditure by about 8 per cent in 2016. Major defence deals, including 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, Howitzers artillery guns and attack helicopters, are lined up for acquisitions by the Ministry of Defence.
The report added that the US remained by far the world’s largest spender on defence in 2015 despite its expenditure falling by 2.4 per cent to $596 billion. China’s expenditure rose by 7.4 per cent to $215 billion while Saudi Arabia’s grew by 5.7 per cent to $87.2 billion, making it the world’s third largest spender on defence. Russia’s spending increased by 7.5 per cent to $66.4 billion.
India’s share was 3.1 per cent, ahead of France (3 per cent), Japan (2.4 per cent) and Israel (1 per cent). Incidentally, India is in talks with all three of these countries to acquire new military platforms running into billions of dollars.
For the first time since 2011, global military spending rose in 2015 to touch nearly $1.7 trillion driven mainly by conflicts, including the war against ISIS, the Saudi-led action in Yemen and Chinese expansion in the South China Sea.
“World military expenditure rose by 1 per cent in 2015. The first increase in military spending since 2011, it reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states,” the institute said.
“The headline estimate for total world military spending for 2015 amounts to $1.676 billion, or about 2.3 per cent of total world GDP— often referred to as the ‘military burden’. It is a sum that many people would consider to be too high,” SIPRI said.
Now, Pak alleges threat to peace
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Lt Gen (retd) Nasir Khan Janjua on Tuesday said India’s increased military spending and growing arsenal of strategic weapons was a threat to his country as well as regional peace. “Pakistan is a peace-loving country but its efforts to promote regional peace are hindered by the Indian desire to acquire military and strategic weapons,” he said.