India And Saudi Arabia Competing For Most Powerful Army Title
Military spending across the world grew to $1.57 trillion this year as India, China, Russia and the United States competed for the title of most powerful army. The global ranking released by IHS Markit Monday predicted defense spending would return in 2018 to pre-financial crisis levels, CNBC News reported.
The United States remains the world's biggest military spender, with $622 billion set aside for weapons and personnel in 2016, according to IHS Janes, which releases an annual Jane's Defense Budgets Report every December. That represents about 40 percent of global military expenses, a figure expected to soar under President-elect Donald Trump.
"Since 9/11, over $9.35 trillion has been allocated to the U.S. defense budget, with the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) accounting for $1.62 trillion or 17.3 percent of the total U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) budget," said Guy Eastman, senior analyst at IHS Jane's. "U.S. DoD investment levels going forward were to decrease by 1.1 percent in real terms, but with the election of Donald Trump, the expectation is that both investment and readiness will receive injections of much needed funds."
China, meanwhile, home to the world's largest military, continued to claim the second spot on the list. Beijing could double its defense budget by 2020 from from $123 billion in 2010, the report found. The United Kingdom was in third place with $53 billion in spending.
India, which allocated $50 billion to defense spending this year, pushed its way into fourth place. It could be looking to move from being a regional leader to flexing its global power, said Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane's, in a release Monday.
"This is new for the region and is likely to increase military-to-military contact between states," he said. "Rising defense spending could therefore be indirectly responsible for increased tension within the region which in turn could spur faster budget growth."
Defense suppliers will increasingly turn to India, Asia’s third-largest economy, for purchases, Caffrey said. "India needs new equipment to fulfill its modernization drive," he said.
Beyond dollars and cents, when it comes to military strength, the world's leaders are the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India and France, a Credit Suisse Research report from 2015 concluded.