India was the third largest military spender in the world in 2020 behind only the US and China. According to the latest military expenditure database published on 26 April 2021 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks military expenditure and arms trade globally, the US accounted for 39 per cent of the money spent on military globally, China accounted for 13 per cent and India accounted for 3.7 per cent of the globe’s share.

What

  1. The US spent a total of $778 billion in 2020, China spent $252 billion and India’s military expenditure was $72.9 billion. All three countries saw their military spending go up compared to 2019, even during a pandemic year.
  2. While India’s spending since 2019 grew by 2.1 per cent, the increase for China was more moderate, at 1.9 per cent. The US saw a 4.4 per cent growth over its 2019 expenditure.
  3. The United States’ military spending was 3.7 per cent of its GDP while the corresponding numbers for China and India were 1.7 per cent and 2.9 percent respectively.
  4. From 2011 to 2020, American military expenditure dropped by 10 per cent, but China saw a 76 per cent growth while India’s military spending grew by 34 per cent.
  5. SIPRI said that military spending in Asia and Oceania “was 2.5 per cent higher in 2020 than in 2019 and 47 per cent higher than in 2011, continuing an uninterrupted upward trend since at least 1989” and attributed the rise “primarily to increases in spending by China and India, which together accounted for 62 per cent of total military expenditure in the region in 2020”.
  6. The other top spenders included Russia with $61.7 billion, the UK at $59.2 billion, Saudi Arabia at $57.5 billion, followed by Germany and France at just under $53 billion each.
  7. Releasing the latest data, SIPRI said that the total “global military expenditure rose to $1981 billion last year, an increase of 2.6 per cent in real terms from 2019” and the “five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62 per cent of global military expenditure”.
  8. It mentioned that the “2.6 per cent increase in world military spending came in a year” when the global GDP shrank by 4.4 per cent (October 2020 projection by the International Monetary Fund), “largely due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
  9. It added that as a result, “military spending as a share of GDP—the military burden—reached a global average of 2.4 per cent in 2020, up from 2.2 per cent in 2019,” which, it said, “was the biggest year-on-year rise in the military burden since the global financial and economic crisis in 2009”.