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  • 24 April, 2021

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Defence Spending in India

Defence Spending in India

Despite the huge countries due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, global military spending in 2020 was the highest in at least 22 years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The world's military expenditure stood at $1,981 billion in 2020. The five biggest spenders, which accounted for 62% of global military expenditure in 2020, were the U.S, China, India, Russia, and the U.K. India's military expenditure as a share of the GDP and total government spending among comparable economies was second only to that of Russia.

Expenditure Peaks

  • Countries With the highest military expenditure in 2020 - The US. accounted for 39% ($766 billion) of the global military spending last year. India ranked third, shelling out $73 billion. China’s being 2nd( $244 billion) and Russia is 4th.
  • Global military expenditure in 2020 was $1,981 billion, the highest since 1998, which is the earliest year since data are available. It was 2.6.% higher than the spending in 2019.
  • India's military spending was 2.9% of its GDP and 9.1% of its government expenditure in 2020.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its annual report ‘Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019’.

According to the report, the global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019 with India and China emerging among the top three spenders.

  • Global military spending was 2.2% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an increase of 3.6% from 2018.
  • The increase of 3.6% was the largest annual growth in spending since 2010.
  • Top five largest spenders accounted for 62% of the global expenditure.
  • The USA>China>India>Russia>Saudi Arabia.
  • India was at the 4th position in 2018 with Saudi Arabia at the 3rd. Now India is in third position with Russia being forth.
  • Pakistan was at the 24th position compared to the 19th in 2018. Its military expenditure rose by 70% over the decade 2010-19, to reach $10.3 billion while the military burden increased to 4% of GDP in 2019 from 3.4% in 2010.
  • Military burden assesses the proportion of national resources dedicated to military activities and the burden on the economy.


  • The report highlights that India’s defence expenditure is growing in absolute terms. However, defence expenditure has been going down as a percentage of its GDP, due to the increasing trend in the growth of GDP.
  • In 2019, the expenditure was 2.4% of India’s GDP which was lower than that of 2.7% in 2010.

The Union Budget 2019-20

  • Envisaged a total outlay of ?27,84,200 crore. Out of this ?3,18,931.22 crore was earmarked for Defence (excluding Defence Pension).
  • Total Defence Allocation, including Defence Pension, accounted for 15.48% of the total Central Government expenditure for the year 2019-20.
  • It was 6.8% more than that of 2018 and has grown by 37% over the decade of 2010–19. If compared to 1990, it has gone up by 259%.

The Union Budget 2020-21

  • Envisaged a total outlay of ?30,42,230 crore. Out of this, ?3,37,553 crore has been allocated for Defence (excluding Defence Pension).
  • Total defence budget accounts for 15.49% of the total central government expenditure for the year 2020-21.
  • It shows a growth of 9.37% over Budget Estimates 2019-20.
  • It was about 1.5% of the country’s GDP, the lowest in recent times.

India with 2.5 war threat from neighbours like China , Pakistan and looming problem of terrorism in the world, adopts a policy of deterrence. Hence the expenditure is high- Reaching third position in the world.

Source: TH

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