India 4th largest military spender in 2023: Report

Armed forces personnel near LOC in JK. [FPK Photo/ Vikar Syed]

India was the fourth largest military spender in the world in 2023 with an expenditure of $83.6 billion after the United States, China and Russia, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said in a report.

India’s spending was 4.2% higher than that in the previous year, the report on global military spending said.

India has sharpened its focus on building its defence capabilities and strengthening military infrastructure along the China border after the Ladakh standoff began in May 2020. India is modernising its military with fighter jets, helicopters, warships, tanks, artillery guns, rockets and missiles, unmanned capabilities and other combat systems.

India was the fourth-highest spender in 2022 too, according to last year’s Sipri report on the subject.

India’s military spending then stood at $81.4 billion, which was 6% more than that in 2021, and up by 47% from 2013.

China, the world’s second-largest military spender, allocated an estimated $296 billion to its military in 2023, an increase of 6% over the previous year, according to Sipri data.

“Several of China’s neighbours have linked their own spending increases to China’s rising military expenditure,” the report said.

In 2022, China’s military spending reached $ 292 billion.

The latest report comes at a time when India and China have been locked in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since May 2000, and negotiations are on to ease border tensions.

The two sides have held 21 rounds of military talks to resolve outstanding problems.

On February 1, India set aside Rs6.21 lakh crore for defence spending in the interim budget for 2024-25, with the allocation marginally lower (0.37%) than last year’s revised estimates and 4.72% higher than what it was in the budget estimates for 2023-24.

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