Saturday, April 1, 2023

Military spending hits record high: Report – Nation World News

Global military spending rose again in 2021, setting new records as Russia continues to strengthen its military ahead of its invasion of Ukraine, researchers said on Monday, predicting that the trend will continue, particularly in Europe.

Despite the economic fallout of the global COVID pandemic, countries around the world increased their arsenals, with global military spending rising by 0.7 percent last year, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

“Military spending in 2021 rose for the seventh time in a row to reach $2.1 trillion. This is the highest figure we have ever had,” Diego Lopes de Silva, senior researcher at Sipri, told AFP.

Russia’s spending rose 2.9 percent to $65.9 billion for the third year in a row.

Lopes da Silva said defense spending accounts for 4.1 percent of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP), “much higher than the world average”, and makes Moscow the fifth largest spender in the world.

High oil and gas revenues helped the country boost military spending. Lopes da Silva said Russia saw a sharp increase in spending at the end of the year.

“This happened when Russia mobilized troops along the Ukrainian border before its invasion of Ukraine in February,” the researcher said.

– Tough restrictions –

Because of the wave of sanctions imposed by the West in response to aggression in Ukraine, predicting whether Russia would be able to maintain its spending was difficult, Lopes da Silva said.

In 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, the country was also targeted with sanctions as energy prices fell, making it difficult to estimate how effective the sanctions were.

Lopes da Silva said, “Now … we have even tighter sanctions, that’s for sure, but we have higher energy prices that could help Russia maintain military spending at that level.”

On the other hand, Ukraine’s military spending has increased by 72 percent since the annexation of Crimea. While spending fell more than eight percent to $5.9 billion in 2021, it still accounted for 3.2 percent of Ukraine’s GDP.

As tensions rise in Europe, NATO countries have started increasing spending.

SIPRI said eight member states reached the target two percent of GDP for spending last year, lower than a year ago but up from just two in 2014.

Lopes da Silva said he expected spending in Europe to increase.

The US, which surpassed any other country with $801 billion, actually went against the global trend and slashed its spending by 1.4 per cent in 2021.

– ‘technical lead’ –

Over the past decade, US spending on research and development has increased by 24 percent while arms purchases have decreased by 6.4 percent.

While both decreased in 2021, the decline in research was not as pronounced, highlighting the country’s focus “on the next generation of technologies”.

“The US government has repeatedly emphasized the need to maintain the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors,” Alexandra Marksteiner, another SIPRI researcher, said in a statement.

China, the world’s second largest military spender with an estimated $293 billion, increased its spending by 4.7 percent, marking the 27th year of increased spending.

The country’s military build-up has in turn caused its regional neighbors to increase their military budgets, to $7 billion in Japan, an increase of 7.3 percent – ​​the highest annual increase since 1972.

Australia also spent four percent more on its military, reaching $31.8 billion in 2021.

India, the world’s third-largest spender with $76.6 billion, also increased funding in 2021, but a more modest 0.9 percent.

Britain took fourth place, with a three percent increase in military spending to $68.4 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia, which spent an estimated $55.6 billion, a 17 percent decrease.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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