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India outguns Russia to become 4th largest defence spender

December 14, 2016 12:48 IST

India now belongs to the list of top five defence spenders in the world with more than $50 billion devoted to its military budget, placing the South Asian country in fourth place, according to the annual Jane’s Defense Budgets Report.

“Defence spending returned to a healthy rate of growth in 2016, kicking off what we expect to be a decade of stronger global defence spending,” said Fenella McGerty, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s. “Defence spending should recover to pre-financial crisis levels by 2018.”

According to the report, global defence spending rose by 1 per cent to $1.6 trillion (Rs 108 lakh crore) in 2016, against a 0.6 per cent increase in 2015. The report also revealed that the United States was still king with its expenditure representing about 40 per cent of the total Global Defence budget. India overtook Saudi Arabia and Russia to become one of the top five defence spenders globally.


  Country Amount in $ (in million)
1 United States 615,746 billion
2 China 180,523
3 United Kingdom 53,532
4 Russian Federation 51,844
5 Saudi Arabia 50,531
6 India 46,645
7 France 44,244
8 Japan 42,192
9 Germany 35,935
10 Korea, South 32,275
  Country Amount in $ (in million)
1 United States 622,035 billion
2 China 191,752
3 United Kingdom 53,811
4 India 50,678
5 Saudi Arabia 48,686
6 Russian Federation 48,446
7 France 44,349
8 Japan 41,686
9 Germany 35,754
10 Korea, South 33,477



At $622 billion (Rs 41 lakh crore) in 2016, the US is still the world leader in defence spending, with its budget accounting for about 40 per cent of the global total, according to the report. 

About 45 per cent of investment funding will go toward procurement and modification of aircraft, ship, submarine and military ground vehicle platforms. When the new administration takes office in January 2017, actions toward the proposed goals to increase ground forces, increased ship and tactical aircraft numbers and readiness levels will commence along with RDT&E investment in innovation, according to the IHS Jane’s report. 


In 2016, India passed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the country with the fourth biggest defence budget in the world. With growth expected to accelerate over the next two years, India will become the third largest defence budget globally in 2018, surpassing the UK.

“Procurement spending has been constrained in India over the last three years as personnel costs have increased,” Caffrey said. “However, what we expect to see from 2017 onwards is a military focused on modernisation. India needs new equipment to fulfill its modernisation drive. Over the next three years, India will re-emerge as a key growth market for defence suppliers.”


China’s defence budget will nearly double from $123 billion (Rs 8.3 lakh crore) in 2010 to $233 billion (Rs 15.7 lakh crore) in 2020, according to the report, which forecasts defence expenditure for 105 countries. That is four times what the United Kingdom spends and more than the combined expenditure of Western Europe. 


The 2016 budget included the first reduction in Russian defence expenditures seen since the late 1990s and this year saw Russia drop to the number six position -- the first time it has been out of the top five in years. 

The Rediff News Bureau /