Since the low point in the post-Cold War period (1998), spending worldwide has increased by 76 per cent. China alone accounts for 14 per cent of world military expenditures. Spending is up in Saudi Arabia, India, France, Pakistan, and Turkey. Tensions in Asia, as well as between China and the United States, are the greatest factor driving up military spending in the region.
Stockholm (AsiaNews) – Total world military expenditures rose to US$ 1.82 trillion in 2018, an increase of 2.6 per cent over 2017, this according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The figure of 1.82 trillion is 76 per cent higher than the post-cold war low in 1998.
The United States and China accounted for half of the world’s military spending. Together, the two, plus Saudi Arabia, India and France account for 60 per cent of global military spending.
“Military expenditure,” reports the Swedish think tank, “refers to all government spending on current military forces and activities, including salaries and benefits, operational expenses, arms and equipment purchases, military construction, research and development, and central administration, command and support.”
Overall, world military spending in 2018 represented 2.1 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) or US$ 239 per person.
For the first time since 2010, US military spending grew by 4.6 per cent, to reach US$ 649 billion in 2018. China, the second-largest spender in the world, increased its military expenditure by 5.0 per cent to 0 billion in 2018.
This was the 24th consecutive year of increase in Chinese military expenditure. Its spending in 2018 was almost ten times higher than in 1994, and accounted for 14 per cent of world military spending.
In 2018, India also increased its expenses by 3.1, as did Pakistan (11 per cent), and South Korea (5.1 per cent).
“The tensions between countries in Asia as well as between China and the USA are major drivers for the continuing growth of military spending in the region,” a senior SIPRI researcher said.
The largest absolute increase in spending in 2018 was by the US (US$ 27.8 billion), whilst Turkey saw the highest annual percentage increase (24 per cent to US$ 19 billion).
Six of the ten countries with the highest military burden (military spending as a proportion of GDP) in the world in 2018 are in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia (8.8 per cent of GDP), Oman (8.2 per cent), Kuwait (5.1 per cent), Lebanon (5.0 per cent), Jordan (4.7 per cent) and Israel (4.3 per cent).