Global defence budget: How much India, Pakistan and China are spending on military

Global defence budget / military spending reached $2,443 billion in 2023, marking a significant 6.8 per cent increase from the previous year and the most significant year-on-year rise since 2009, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The average military spending per person was the highest since 1990, at $306.

The surge in military spending can be attributed largely to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and rising tensions in regions like Asia, Oceania and the Middle East, the report said.

SIPRI report on global military spending | Key points

  • In 2023, total military expenditure accounted for 2.3 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), reflecting the significant financial resources allocated to defence worldwide.
  • The world’s five largest military spenders in 2023 were the United States, China, Russia, India, and Saudi Arabia, collectively constituting 61 per cent of global military spending.
  • Russia’s military spending surged by 24 per cent in 2023, reaching an estimated $109 billion, equivalent to 5.9 per cent of Russia’s GDP.
  • Ukraine emerged as the eighth largest military spender in 2023, increasing its defence expenditure by 51 per cent to $64.8 billion, accounting for 37 per cent of its GDP.
  • Military expenditure by NATO member states totalled $1341 billion in 2023, representing 55 per cent of global spending. Eleven NATO members met the alliance’s 2 per cent of GDP military spending target in 2023, an increase of four from the previous year.

Top 10 countries with highest defence budget / military spending in 2023 are as under:-

  1. United States: $916 billion
  2. China: $296 billion (estimated)
  3. Russia: $109 billion (estimated)
  4. India: $83.6 billion
  5. Saudi Arabia: $ 75.8 billion (estimated)
  6. United Kingdom: $74.9 billion
  7. Germany: $66.8 billion
  8. Ukraine: $64.8 billion
  9. France: $61.3 billion
  10. Japan: $50.32 billion

‘India spent the highest ever on procuring Made-In-India arms’

  • India ranked fourth globally in military expenditure in 2023, totalling $83.6 billion, marking a 4.2 per cent increase from 2022 and a substantial 44 per cent rise from 2014.
  • The surge in India’s military spending was primarily due to escalating personnel and operations costs, comprising nearly 80 per cent of the total military budget for 2023, the report said.
  • According to the report, this increase aligns with the government’s focus on enhancing the operational readiness of the armed forces, particularly amidst ongoing tensions with neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan.

During the same period, Pakistan’s military spending dropped to $8.5 billion in 2023, a decrease of $13 billion, relegating it to the 30th position globally.

However, China’s military expenditure grew by $6 billion, allowing it to retain its second position.

  • Despite the rise in overall spending, capital outlays for military procurement remained relatively consistent, accounting for around 22 per cent of the budget in 2023, the report added.
  • Notably, a significant portion of these procurement funds, approximately 75 per cent, was allocated to domestically produced equipment, marking the highest level ever recorded and a notable increase from the previous year.