SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — India have officially placed themselves among the world’s top-five spenders when it comes to defense funding, with much of the budget being aimed at personnel costs and modernization, amid rising tensions with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors of India and Pakistan have reached an all-time high following a deadly assault on an Indian army base in September that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
Already established as Asia’s third-largest economy and the world’s most rapidly developing, India spent $50.6 billion in 2016 on defense, up from $46.6 billion 2015. That’s good enough to give the nation the fourth-largest defense budget in the world, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to the 2016 Jane’s Defense Budgets Report, released by research firm IHS Markit.
Russia dropped out of the top five and are placed at No. 6.
A significant portion of India’s budget went to personnel costs, according to Craig Caffrey, Jane’s lead analyst on the report. Beginning in 2017, Caffrey expects “a military focused on modernization,” which will likely attract weapons manufacturers around the world.
“Procurement spending has been constrained in India over the last three years as personnel costs have increased,” Caffrey said in a statement. “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,” he added.
“India’s military scale, following China’s and the US’, involves 55-60 percent for personnel expenses and 45 percent in capital investment, an increase of 15 percent in the past decade,” Ding Hao, an India military expert from the People’s Liberation Army’s PLA Academy of Military Sciences, told the Global Times. In order to modernize and diversify its military presence, India also needs to eye European countries like France, Germany and Sweden, he added.
India’s military investment has sharply increased from last year given a cut in military expenses among countries like the U.S., Russia and Japan. However, Ding believes it is not very high as a percentage of GDP despite the increase.
“India’s military budget accounts for 1.8 percent of India’s GDP, which is below a reasonable level of 2.5-3 percent,” Ding said.
Information from the Global Times contributed to this report.