Defence Industry

Global Military Spending Record High, India Fourth

Story Highlights
  • SIPRI said that wages and pensions for military workers were still the biggest part of the Indian military budget, making up about half of all military spending.
  • India's arms exports did hit an all-time high of Rs 15,920 crore in the 2022-23 financial year.

India is now the fourth largest military spender in the world after Russia passed it last year. China continues to spend almost four times as much as India on defense, and the US spends more than 10 times as much. Global military spending has gone up for the eighth year in a row, and it will reach an all-time high in 2022.

According to new data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Monday, the world’s total military spending will rise by 3.7% in real terms to reach $2,240 billion in 2022. Europe’s spending will rise the most from one year to the next in at least 30 years because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The US spends $877 billion on its defense, China spends $292 billion, Russia spends $86.4 billion, India spends $81.4 billion, Saudi Arabia spends $75 billion, the UK spends $68.5 billion, Germany spends $55.8 billion, France spends 53.6 billion, South Korea spends $46.4 billion, and Japan spends $46 billion. Even though China and Russia aren’t very open about their numbers, Ukraine is in 11th place with $44 billion and Pakistan is in 24th place with $10.3 billion.

“The constant rise in global military spending over the past few years is a sign that the world is getting less safe. SIPRI said, “States are building up their military forces because they see security getting worse and don’t think it will get better in the near future.”

China is a clear and present danger to India because it is aggressive and wants to grow, and Pakistan continues to support terrorism across borders. But because of huge needs in other areas, India’s defense budget for 2023-24 is only 1.97 percent of the estimated GDP, even though it needs to be at least 2.5 percent.

This is even more important because India’s military upgrading of its over 14 lakh strong armed forces is limited by the rising costs of salaries and pensions, which account for more than half of the country’s defense spending.

For example, the Rs 5.93 lakh crore defense budget for 2023-24 includes Rs 1.38 lakh crore for pensions and Rs 1.8 lakh crore for pay.

Because of this, the armed forces still don’t have enough fighters, submarines, helicopters, current infantry weapons, anti-tank guided missiles, and night-fighting equipment, even though the military conflict with China is still going on.

SIPRI said that India’s spending was up 47% from 2013 and up 6% from 2021. “India’s border tensions with China and Pakistan have caused its spending to go up,” it said.

But the think group also noticed that India’s spending on modernization was only 23% of its total spending on the military in 2022. SIPRI said that wages and pensions for military workers were still the biggest part of the Indian military budget, making up about half of all military spending.

The fact that India hasn’t come up with long-term plans to build up its military powers in a way that fits with its geopolitical goals and has a relatively weak domestic defense-industrial base are also big problems.

India’s arms exports did hit an all-time high of Rs 15,920 crore in the 2022-23 financial year. But the country is still the world’s biggest importer of arms, making up 11% of all global imports in 2018–2022. This puts the country in a strategically weak situation.

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