Defence economy/ expenditure/ spending: India

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Expenditure on defence by India, China, major countries


Source: The Correlates of War Project, World Bank, September 6, 2019: The Times of India

The world’s top military spenders in 100 years, 1914-2018
From: September 6, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

The world’s top military spenders in 100 years, 1914-2018

The United States has the world’s most powerful and active military. In 2018, the US spent nearly 10 times what India spent on its military. But the US wasn’t always on top — tracking international conflicts shows how military spending is distributed around the world and who are the most influential players.


With Europe amping up preparations for the World War I, military budgets ballooned ahead of the four-year-long conflict that spanned several continents.


With the World War II on the horizon, defence spending skyrocketed. Germany outspent its nearest rival by more than $40 billion.


At the peak of the Cold War, the arms race between US and Soviet Russia saw the nations pour billions into their defence programmes to stay a step ahead of the other.


As the Soviet Union gradually crumbled, the US cemented its position as the most dominant military force, with armed engagements ongoing around the globe.


India first entered the top 10 in the 1950s but kept falling in and out of the top until the 1990s. But India firmed up its position in the top 10 in the 2000s and has stayed there ever since.


The US remains the top military spender with its continuing involvements across the world. It spends about as much as the next eight countries combined. India figures in at fourth with modernising its armed forces a major national priority. Its military budget is now six times Pakistan’s $7.8 billion budget.


Defence spend as percentage of GDP has fallen world over, March 26, 2018: The Times of India

India, China, and other major countries in 2017.
Defence expenditure as a percentage of the GDP
Defence expenditure in absolute terms
The major arms suppliers
The major arms recipients
From: Defence spend as percentage of GDP has fallen world over, March 26, 2018: The Times of India

India’s defence forces have expressed unhappiness over the allocation for them in the Union Budget which, at 1.56% of the GDP, was the lowest since 1962, when India and China fought a war. But the defence budget as a part of the GDP has actually been shrinking across the world...

Is India the only country whose defence bill as percentage of GDP has reduced?

• Government allocated Rs 2.74 lakh crore for defence in the 2018 budget. This will amount to 1.56% of the country’s GDP, making this allocation the lowest ever in terms of share of GDP. The analysis of budget allocations as a percentage of GDP for other major economies shows a similar pattern. As an economy grows, the proportion of its defence expenditure as compared to its overall size is bound to fall. This pattern is followed in most of the countries.

Are these countries making their own armaments?

• No. Many of these countries that top defence expenditure are dependent on import of defence equipment. In 2017, India was the world’s second-largest ar ms importer.

Which are the world’s largest arms suppliers?

• US followed by Russia are the world’s largest arms suppliers. Together they dominate the global arms market by a huge margin as compared to other countries.

In absolute terms, which country spends the highest on defence?

• US by far spends the highest on its defence. America’s total defence expenditure is roughly equal to the defence expenditure of the next nine highest- spending countries.


2018: Defence expenditures made by in India, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, S Arabia, South Korea, the UK and the USA.
From: November 26, 2019: The Times of India

See graphic:

2018: Defence expenditures made by in India, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, S Arabia, South Korea, the UK and the USA.

Shortage of items

Indian Army, 2015

The Times of India

Shortfall of items

Army needs 4L balaclavas, 2L boots

Chethan Kumar, Jan 08 2015

With one of the worst winters in the pipeline, the Indian Army is facing a shortage of items like high-ankle boots and balaclavas, lakhs of which still need to be procured. Air Marshal PP Reddy , chief of Integrated Defence Staff,said India needs to be prepared for war on both fronts, China and Pakistan. But how equipped are our soldiers in high-altitude regions? The third report of the standing committee on defence 2014-15, submitted on December 22, 2014 points that there's a shortage of 2.17 lakh boots (high ankle), 4.47 lakh balaclavas and 65,978 durries (thick cotton quilts), all basic requirements in high-altitude areas. Besides, there's a shortage of 13.09 lakh canvas shoes and mosquito nets.

Member of Parliament from Belagavi and committee member Suresh Angadi told TOI, “This has been plaguing the Army for a while now. Even when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, strict instructions were given by the government to procure all the necessary articles for soldiers but it has not happened. Even now, we've told officials to expedite the pro curement process.“

The report quoting ViceChief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lt Gen Philip Campose on how the Army is managing the Mountain Strike Corps given the lack of equipment, says the Army is falling back on war wastage reserves. “We are holding War Wastage Reserves of all sorts of equipment, weapons, and stores.All this has been taken out from the WWR and given to the new raisings,“ he told the committee.

The defence ministry has set March 16, 2015 as deadline for procurement of the items.

See also

Arms exports: India

Arms exports: Pakistan

Defence Economy: India

Defence imports, arms imports: India, Pakistan

Defence procurement: India

Defence procurement: South Asia

Defence production, India: 1

Defence production, India: 2 (ministry data)

Defence: Indian government data

Defence imports, arms imports: India, Pakistan

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