Asia led the rise in military spending as global military expenditure surpassed $2 trillion for the first time in 2021, according to a report released on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The SIPRI report showed that not only China and India but east Asian nations Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore also ramped up their defence spending. The region’s military spending expanded more than 3.5% – more than Europe, Africa and western Asia and the Americas. Military spending grew only in the continent of Africa by 1.2% wherease in western Asia military spending in 2021 dropped by -3.3% according to the Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2021 report by SIPRI.
Barring India and China, who ramped up military spending in 2021, these nations also increased their defence expenditure: Japan by 7.3%, Singapore 7.1%, South Korea 4.7% and Australia 4%.
The SIPRI report also outlined that China’s military spending has grown for 27 years in a row – making it the longest uninterrupted sequence of increases in military spending by any country.
India spent more than $77 billion in defence spending in 2021 while China spent $293 billion in 2021. India and China’s defence spending has grown 33% and 72% respectively while South Korea’s defence spending has grown by 43%. The SIPRI report pointed out that defence spending of Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand has grown by 35%, 24% and 16% respectively, since 2012.
Another driver for the growth in military spending in the Indo-Pacific region was Australia whose defence spending grew in the past year. Australia leads in military spending increase over the past decade as it grew by 42% from 2012 while defence expenditure increased by 4% between 2020 and 2021.
The SIPRI report also shows that India and the UK have crossed the 2% threshold of ratio of defence spending to gross domestic product that NATO members are targeting.
The US, China, India, the UK and Russia were the top five big spenders in 2021 which accounted for 62% of world military expenditure. Saudi Arabia and Brazil were two nations whose defence spending decreased while the UK and France rose up to become the fourth and sixth highest military spenders.