India now belongs to the list of top five defense 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 issued by the research firm IHS Markit.
“In 2016, India passed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the country with the fourth biggest defense budget in the world,” notes the research firm. “With growth expected to accelerate over the next two years, India will become the third largest defense budget globally in 2018, surpassing the UK.”
“If a weaker pound persists, India will spend more on defense than the UK by 2018 — pushing the UK out of the top three,” it adds.
The United States, China, and the United Kingdom still hold the top three defense budgets in the world, respectively.
“Procurement spending has been constrained in India over the last three years as personnel costs have increased,” revealed Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane’s. “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.”
The emerging rivaling world powers China and India are expected to drive stronger defense spending over the next decade.
— IHS news (@IHS_news) December 12, 2016
Currently, the Indian government tops Saudi Arabia and pushed Russia out of the globe’s top five spenders. Russia dropped to the sixth spot in 2016 from fourth place last year.
“We expect the Russian defense budget to fall again next year and it will sit below France in the number seven position by 2020, based on current plans, with a total defense budget of $41.4 billion,” noted Caffrey from the research firm.
India is considered a rival by allies and neighbors China and Pakistan.
According to the most recent annual report to Congress issued by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China is lending substantial military and economic support to Pakistan amid deadly confrontations between nuclear-armed neighbors Islamabad and New Delhi over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir.
However, the U.S. commission has determined that the increasing Islamic terrorism threat facing China is prompting the communist country to question its military assistance to its ally Muslim-majority Pakistan. The majority of Islamic extremist attacks in China reportedly stem from Pakistan, which is constantly accused by India, the United States, and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism.
India, Pakistan, and China have competing claims to the Kashmir region. Nevertheless, Beijing has stayed in the shadows of the ongoing conflict between the Indian and Pakistani regional rivals along their shared border in the Muslim-majority region.
Overall, “global defense spending rose in 2016 to $1.57 trillion, kicking off what is forecast to be a decade of stronger global defense expenditure,” found the Jane’s Defense Budgets Report.