London: India is among the world’s top five defense spenders with its military budget at $50.7 billion, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a new report released on Monday.
The US, China and the UK remain the top three defense spenders while India has the fourth largest military budget, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to the ‘2016 Jane’s Defense Budgets Report’, released by research firm IHS Markit.
India ‘s defence budget was $50.7 billion in 2016 , up from $46.6 billion in 2015.
The report said that India is set to overtake Britain with the third-largest defense budget by 2018 as a result of its modernization drive.
The US remained way ahead of the world with a budget of $622 billion, followed by China at $191.7 billion while the UK spent $53.8 billion on defense in 2016, Saudi Arabia $48.68 billion and Russia $48.44 billion.
After three years of budgetary constraints, the definitive UK-based defense magazine forecasts that India ‘s defence budget will rise from $38 billion in 2010 to $64 billion in 2020.
“Procurement spending has been constrained in India over the last three years as personnel costs have increased. However, what we expect to see from 2017 onwards is a military focused on modernization. India needs new equipment to fulfill its modernization drive. Over the next three years, India will re-emerge as a key growth market for defense suppliers,” said Craig Caffrey, Principal Analyst for Asia-Pacific at ‘IHS Janes’.
The worldwide outlook shows that global defense spending rose by 1% to $1.6 trillion in 2016, against 0.6% in 2015.
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This rise has been attributed largely to strategic threats posed by Russia and the Islamic State terror group in the Middle East.
“Defense spending returned to a healthy rate of growth in 2016, kicking off what we expect to be a decade of stronger global defense spending,” said Fenella McGerty, Principal Analyst at ‘IHS Janes’.
By 2020, China is forecast to be spending more than the whole of western Europe on defense and by 2025, more than all the states in the Asia-Pacific region combined.