Struggling Russia cuts military spending - and it could weaken its forces worldwide

Thursday, 03 May, 2018

According to a report issued by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) (1), France lost in 2017 for the benefit of India its fifth place in the world rankings of military expenditures.

With an expenditure of Dollars 63.9 billion on military in 2017, India marked a 5.5 percent rise from the figures in 2016.

India's increasing spending on defence reflects its geopolitical relations with its two big neighbours - China and Pakistan, that it has had hostile relations with and continues to have border disputes.

All 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, meanwhile, spent $900 billion on the military in 2017, which accounts for 52% of total world spending, SIPRI said.

As a result, Russian Federation dropped to fourth place in the ranking of the world's biggest military spenders, overtaken by Saudi Arabia, the report said.

Russia's military spending fell for the first time since 1998, the report said, adding that the total global expenditure of 1.739 trillion was an increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms compared to the spending in 2016. Still, China's budget is less than half the military budget of the United States.

The Middle East also saw significant increases in military spending.

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According to estimates of the Institute, in General, military spending accounted for 2.2% of world GDP, average around $230 per person.

The experts agreed that the current rate of military expenditure is among the highest for the period since the end of the cold war. It replaces Russian Federation, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a new report on Wednesday. The five biggest spenders in 2017 together accounted for 60% of the total, according to the report.

Japan's increases in defence spending represent a change in policy since the 2012 cut to the defence budget. The top 14 military spenders, after the US, can be found on five continents, and each has its own vast web of military and political alliances. "Russia is, importantly, demonstrating continued interest in capabilities beyond conventional military force that are easier to develop and deploy unaccountably", says the IISS report, warning that the West has found no effective response either via sanctions or other measures.

Military expenditure in Africa decreased by 0.5 per cent in 2017, the third consecutive annual decrease since the peak in spending in 2014.

Military expenditure in South America rose by 4.1 per cent in 2017, mainly as a result of notable increases by the two largest spenders in the subregion: Argentina (up by 15 per cent) and Brazil (up by 6.3 per cent). Military expenditure for countries in the Middle East for which data is available also grew in 2017, by 6.2 per cent, and was 29 per cent higher than in 2008 for these countries.

SIPRI is an independent global institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.