Global military spending posts largest rise in decade

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World military expenditure rose 3.6 percent year-on-year in 2019, the largest annual rise in a decade, according to an international survey released on April 27.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said the global military spending reached $1.9 trillion last year.

The figure represented 2.2 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, equating to approximately $249 per person, it noted.

The largest spender was the U.S. with a 38 percent share or earmarking $732 billion in military. It was up by 5.3 percent from previous year, largely the main driver of the global growth in military spending.

“The recent growth in U.S. military spending is largely based on a perceived return to competition between the great powers,” Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at SIPRI, said.

In 2019, China and India were, respectively, the second- and third-largest military spenders in the world, and top in Asia.

China’s military expenditure hit $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1 percent rise compared to 2018, while India posted 6.8 percent surge to $71.1 billion.

The report underlined that China’s military expenditure had increased continuously for 25 consecutive years, closely matching the country’s economic growth.

Russia came in fourth and increased its military expenditure by 4.5 percent to $65.1 billion during the same period.

“At 3.9 percent of its GDP, Russia’s military spending burden was among the highest in Europe in 2019,” Alexandra Kuimova, a researcher at SIPRI, said.

It was followed by Saudi Arabia which allocated $61.9 billion in military and is by far the largest military spender in Middle East.

Despite a 16 percent decrease in military expenditure, the country had the highest military burden with devoting 8 percent of its GDP.

The report called the drop unexpected as “the country continued its military operations in Yemen and, after a missile attack caused significant damage to its oil industry in September 2019, tensions with Iran increased.”

Total spending by all 29 NATO members, including Turkey, was $1 trillion last year.

Turkey’s military expenditure climbed by 86 percent over the decade to hit $20.4 billion in 2019.

Pointing to the steep increase in Turkish military spending in 2018 from a year earlier with 27 percent, the report said the annual rise was 5.8 percent in 2019.

Germany led the military expenditure rise in Europe, it underlined, adding that the country’s military spending amounted to $49.3 billion in 2019, up 10 percent from previous year.

“The growth in German military spending can partly be explained by the perception of an increased threat from Russia, shared by many NATO states,” Diego Lopes da Silva, a researcher at SIPRI, said.

Hurriyet Daily News

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