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India 3rd highest military spender: SIPRI Report


Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently published the latest data on the military spending across the world – which has increased to USD 1,981 billion in 2020, during Covid-19 pandemic.


GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Security Challenges & their Management), GS-III: Indian Economy (Budgeting)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About SIPRI
  2. India-Specific Highlights of the SIPRI Report on Military spending
  3. General Highlights of the SIPRI report


  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an independent international think-tank institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  • It was established in 1966 at Stockholm (Sweden).
  • It provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

India-Specific Highlights of the SIPRI Report on Military spending

  • India was the third largest military spender in the world in 2020 – The top 2 were the US and China.
  • India’s military expenditure accounted for almost 4% of the global military expenditure share.
  • India’s spending since 2019 grew by more than 2% which is largely attributed to India’s ongoing conflict with Pakistan and renewed border tension with China.
  • India accounted for 9.5% of the total global arms imports during 2016-2020.

Reasons for this Increased Spending

  • The continuing military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, of course, has led India to make several emergency arms purchases from abroad since the crisis erupted in early May 2020.
  • India has to maintain an over 15-lakh strong armed forces because of the two active and unresolved borders with China and Pakistan.
  • India’s annual military expenditure also includes a huge pension bill for 33-lakh veterans and defence civilians.
  • 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.

General Highlights of the SIPRI report

Military spending as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reached a global average of 2.4% in 2020, up from 2.2% in 2019.

The five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62% of global military expenditure were:

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. India
  4. Russia
  5. United Kingdom.
  • Nearly all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) saw their military burden rise in 2020.
  • The countries with the biggest increases in military burden among the top 15 spenders in 2020 were Saudi Arabia, Russia, Israel and US.
  • In addition to China, India (USD 72.9 billion), Japan (USD 49.1 billion), South Korea (USD 45.7 billion) and Australia (USD 27.5 billion) were the largest military spenders in the Asia and Oceania region.
  • The combined military spending of the 11 Middle Eastern countries for which SIPRI has spending figures decreased by 6.5% in 2020.

-Source: The Hindu

March 2024