NEW DELHI: While the government is focusing on decreasing India’s dependence on import of military arms and equipment, India is included in the list of nations with the highest military spending.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its data on global military spending published on Monday said, “The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure, according to new data on global military spending.”
As per SIPRI, total global military expenditure increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms in 2021 to reach $2113 billion.
While global military spending continued to grow in 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, reaching an all-time high of $2.1 trillion, “India’s military spending of $76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world. This was up by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012,” said SIPRI.
Although the COVID pandemic crippled economic activities across the globe, it did not affect the expenditure on the military. "Even amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels," said Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. "There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation. In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1 per cent," he said.
As reported by TNIE, “The Defence Budget for the financial year 2022-23 is Rs 5,25,166 crore. This is an increase of Rs 46,970 crores over last year's Rs 4,78,196 crore and includes pensions too. It is an increase of 9.8 percent but keeping the threat perceptions along the borders, the important capital outlay has been raised by more than 10 percent for the second consecutive year.”
The SIPRI study brings out the focus laid by the United States on military research and development.
US military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.
“US funding for military research and development (R&D) rose by 24 per cent between 2012 and 2021, while arms procurement funding fell by 6.4 per cent over the same period. In 2021 spending on both decreased. However, the drop in R&D spending (–1.2 per cent) was smaller than that in arms procurement spending (–5.4 per cent),” said SIPRI.
In a push to strengthen the indigenous arms industry, 64 percent of capital outlays in the military budget of 2021 were earmarked for acquisitions of domestically produced arms.
"The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012–21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies," said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. As reported earlier by TNIE, the US government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors.
India has initiated steps to give impetus to Defence R&D and has decided to open it up for industry, startups and academia with 25 per cent of defence R&D budget earmarked. Private industry will be encouraged to take up design and development of military platforms and equipment in collaboration with DRDO and other organisations through the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) model. An independent nodal umbrella body will be set up for meeting wide-ranging testing and certification requirements.