India among world's top 5 defence spenders, but dwarfed by China

India and China were among the five biggest military spenders in the world, together accounting for 60 per cent of the total global defence expenditure of $1.739 trillion in 2017, Swedish arms watchdog SIPRI said on Wednesday.

India overtook France after New Delhi expanded its defence budget by 5.5 per cent between 2016 and 2017, says the report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
But China eclipses India by 3.6 times as Beijing spent an estimated $228 billion on defence in 2017. India spent $63.9 billion, which is an increase of 5.5 per cent since 2016 and 45 per cent since 2008.
Pakistan does not figure on the list of the world’s top 15 arms spenders. Other Asian countries on the list are Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan.
According to the arms watchdog, the five top military spenders in 2017 were the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India.
Total world military expenditure rose to $1,739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according figures accessible at www.sipri.org.
China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Russia’s military spending fell for the first time since 1998, while spending by the United States remained constant for the second successive year. 
It said the total global military spending rose to $1.739 trillion which is an increase of 1.1 per cent compared to the expenditure in 2016.
"Continuing high world military expenditure is a cause for serious concern," Jan Eliasson, chair of the SIPRI governing board, said. "It undermines the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world."
The report said that China's military spending, at an estimated $228 billion, accounted for 48 per cent of the total defence spending in the Asia and Oceania region, and was 3.6 times that of the region's second largest spender, India.
"The Indian government plans to expand, modernise and enhance the operational capability of its armed forces motivated, at least partially, by tensions with China and Pakistan," the report said.
Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher with the SIPRI, said, "Tensions between China and many of its neighbours continue to drive the growth in military spending in Asia."
According to the report, China's spending as a share of world military expenditure has risen from 5.8 per cent in 2008 to 13 per cent in 2017.
At $610 billion, the US military spending accounted for more than a third of the world total in 2017. The US' spending was 2.7 times greater than the next highest spender, China, it said. SIPRI said the US military spending was unchanged between 2016 and 2017.
At $66.3 billion, Russia's military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016, the first annual decrease since 1998.
"Military modernisation remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by economic problems that the country has experienced since 2014," said Wezeman. 
Driven in part by the perception of a growing threat from Russia, military spending in both Central and Western Europe increased in 2017, by 12 and 1.7 per cent respectively, SIPRI said.
Many European states are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and within that framework, have agreed to increase their military spending.
The arms watchdog said total military spending by all 29 NATO members was $900 billion in 2017, accounting for 52 per cent of world spending. The total global military expenditure accounted for 2.2 per cent of global gross domestic product in 2017.