Global arms spending totaled US$1.57 trillion in 2016 alone, with the U.S. dwarfing all other nations with its military budget of 40 percent of the world’s total.
The U.S. topped global spending with US$622 billion, with China in a distant second with just under US$192 billion and the U.K. was third with US$53.8 billion, according to data from the 2016 Jane’s Defence Budgets Report compiled by finance company IHS Markit.
India for the first time is in the top five of defense spending as it laid out US$50.7 billion, a 9 percent increase from last year. India overtook Both Saudi Arabia US$48.7 billion and Russia US$44.4 billion.
After Narendra Modi’s government came to power in India in 2014, defense has been a high priority, as it currently spends 1.8 percent of its GDP on defense. This has happened while the Modi government implemented a demonetization policy designed to rid the country of counterfeit currency, which accounts for more than 80 percent of money in the country. It has led to huge lines and a scarcity of currency, which has hit millions of India’s poor the hardest.
While states such as India and Saudi Arabia spent huge amounts of money on defense, their forces were still seen to be technologically behind others with far more modernized defense systems.
There doesn’t seem to be any indication that spending will slow down in the future. While defense spending was seen to have taken a hit in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, instability across the world has fueled increases in spending.
The Baltic states had the fastest rates of spending growth, which is seen as a result of their wariness of rising Russian influence in the region. Western Europe for the first time since 2009 has also increased spending.
Based on current trends, by 2020, China is expected to spend more on defense than the whole of western Europe combined and four times more than the U.K. alone. Much of this trend is seen as a result of ongoing tensions with others in the region regarding claims to the disputed South China Sea.
While the world is waiting in anticipation for what U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy will manifest in reality, IHS Markit senior analyst, Guy Eastman, noted that “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.”
Those who Facebook login can see that a lot of the conflicts going on the in The Middle East involve rebel groups that are often sold weapons from the States.