INDIA increased its military spending to a staggering £46.8 billion last year], toppling France to become one of the world’s five biggest spenders, it has emerged.
By Joy Basu / Published 3rd May 2018
Amid rising tensions with neighbouring nuclear powers China and Pakistan, the country boosted its defence budget by a massive 5.5%, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The deadly arms race saw a clear shift towards Asia, Oceania and the Middle East last year – driven largely by spending increases in China, India and Saudi Arabia, added the report.
But at 260 nuclear warheads, mighty China continues to cast a dangerous shadow over its Asian nations as it remains one of the world’s biggest military spenders.
While the US spent a massive £448 billion, China shelled out a huge £167 billion.
However, reports state the increased spending in India did not mean developing its nuclear arsenal, reports The Times of India.
The rise in defence spending will mostly be spent on maintenance and operation costs, said Laxman Kumar Behera, at New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
He added: “Because so much money is consumed by manpower costs, there isn’t enough left over to buy equipment.”
Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Sarath Chand told a parliamentary committee in March the current budget barely accounts for inflation and tax payments.
He said only 14% is spent on military modernisation.
Faced with threats from Pakistan and China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has previously tried to boost the country’s defence production with a Make in India programme.
But data released by the country’s Ministry of Defence showed India bought more military arsenal from foreign organisations than from those within the county since Modi came to power in 2014.