Pakistan’s military expenditure had surged by 70 percent during the 2010-19 decade to reach $10.3 billion.
An annual report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has revealed that the country’s military expenditure constituted 4% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sipri, founded in 1966, is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflicts, armaments and arms control.
In terms of GDP, the military budget rose from 3.4 percent in 2010 to 4 percent last year, stated the report.
Highest Military Spender in South Asia in 2019
At $71.1 billion, India had the highest military spending in South Asia in 2019. It was 6.8 percent higher in 2019 than in 2018, said Sipri. India’s military expenditure has risen significantly over the past few decades. It grew by 259 percent over the 30-year period 1990–2019 and by 37 percent over the decade 2010–19. However, its military burden fell from 2.7 percent of GDP in 2010 to 2.4 percent in 2019.
‘India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China are among the major drivers for its increased military spending,’ says Siemon T. Wezeman, SIPRI Senior Researcher.
Largest Spenders in 2019
The total global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019, the highest level since 1988 according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The total for 2019 represents an increase of 3.6 percent from 2018 and the largest annual growth in spending since 2010.
The five largest spenders in 2019, which accounted for 62 percent of expenditure, were
- United States
- Saudi Arabia.
It was surprising to see a fall in Saudi Arabia’s spending (-16 percent) over the same period whereas India shot up to the third spot for the first time. Russia moved up one place in the rankings, from fifth to fourth, while Saudi Arabia fell from third to fifth.
This is the first time that two Asian states have featured among the top three military spenders, stated the report. Five of the top 15 global spenders in 2019 are in Asia and Oceania: China (rank 2), India (rank 3), Japan (rank 9), South Korea (rank 10) and Australia (rank 13).
In 2019 China and India were, respectively, the second- and third-largest military spenders in the world. China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1 percent increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8 percent to $71.1 billion.
Top 15 Military Spenders
The top 15 military spenders in the world in 2019 were the same as those in 2018, but there were some significant changes in the rankings among the highest spenders, said the report.
According to the report, the top 15 countries spent $1553 billion in 2019, accounting for 81 percent of global military expenditure. All but three countries in the top 15 had higher military expenditure in 2019 than in 2010. The exceptions were the United States (–15 percent), the United Kingdom (–15 percent) and Italy (–11 percent). China’s increase (85 percent) was by far the largest among the top 15.
Among the top 15 military spenders in 2019, Japan had the lowest military burden: it devoted only 0.9 percent of its GDP to military expenditure. Saudi Arabia had the highest, 8.0 percent. Among the top 15, the military burdens of Israel (5.3 percent), Russia (3.9 percent), the USA (3.4 percent), South Korea (2.7 percent) and India (2.4 percent) were also higher than the global military burden.
With an expenditure of $732 billion, the USA remained by far the largest spender in the world. The next 10 countries on the list spent $821 billion combined.
SIPRI has not estimated total military expenditure in the Middle East since 2015 because of a lack of data for Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. The combined total military expenditure in 2019 for the 11 countries for which data is available was $147 billion. Two of the top 15 global spenders in 2019 are in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia (rank 5) and Israel (rank 15). Saudi Arabia is by far the largest military spender in the region, with an estimated total of $61.9 billion in 2019.
Military spending by Israel was $20.5 billion in 2019—a slight increase of 1.7 percent compared with 2018. Between 2010 and 2019, Israeli military spending increased steadily, and in 2019 it was 30 percent higher than in 2010. Turkish military expenditure increased by 86 percent over the decade.