China and India, which spent $261 billion (up 5.1%) and $71.1 billion (up 6.8 percent) in 2019 on their militaries, respectively, are the second- and third-biggest military spenders in the world after the United States, which spent $732 billion on defence, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in data released on Monday.
As global military expenditure sees largest annual increase in a decade, two Asian neighbours – India and China – among top three countries in military spending, as per @SIPRIorg data. @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/jizGdAiw3u— Aakriti Sharma (@_aakritisharma) April 27, 2020
It is for the first time that two Asian countries are among the top three in terms of military expenditures. However, senior researcher at SIPRI Siemon T. Wezeman has credited India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China as the “major drivers for its increased military spending”.
The SIPRI report revealed that India’s archrival Pakistan’s military expenditure rose 70 percent over the last decade to reach $10.3 billion; India's military spending over the same period of time increased 37 percent. Despite worsening financial conditions, Pakistan’s military burden increased from 3.4 percent of GDP in 2010 to 4.0 percent in 2019 while India’s military burden decreased to 2.4 percent from 2.7 over the course of the decade.
India shares a 4,057 kilometre-long border with China and a 3,323-kilometre border with Pakistan. Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, in response to China’s growing emphasis on its navy, had said that the Indian Navy has to see how it can match China's “intent”, given its limited budget and resources.
The navy chief highlighted China’s increased presence in the Indian Ocean Region, with six to eight warships in the area at any given time and added that its relations with Pakistan continue to pose a threat to India. However, even with the gap of about $200 billion between India's military spending and that of China, it has proven its preparedness against its rival time and again.
Earlier this month, during the movement of a Chinese aircraft carrier and warships through the Miyako Strait as part of a journey to the South China Sea, the Indian Navy asserted its war preparedness, stating that it will continue to maintain an operational vigil in the Indian Ocean Region by carrying out regular maritime surveillance missions.
In January, India began deployment of advanced weapons systems and improving its infrastructure along its border with China In the backdrop of increasing military relations between China and Pakistan and fearing collusion from both, Indian's army chief had justified deployment at the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen, as crucial for the Indian Army.