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US, China, Russia drive trend of increased military spending, India at 4th spot: SIPRI

‘Global military expenditure hits record high’
us  china  russia drive trend of increased military spending  india at 4th spot  sipri

New Delhi, Apr 22: The new data released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says global military expenditure has surged to a staggering US $2443 billion in 2023, which is approximately equal to 204,271 billion Indian Rupees marking a significant 6.8% increase in real terms from the previous year. This spike represents the sharpest year-on-year escalation since 2009, emphasizing the gravity of the current geopolitical climate.


Leading the charge in this uptick are the ten largest spenders in 2023, with heavyweight nations such as the United States, China, and Russia driving the trend with increased military spending. SIPRI’s comprehensive analysis, available at, provides crucial insights into the evolving landscape of global military investment.


This increase in military expenditure, with all five geographical regions defined by SIPRI, experienced a simultaneous increase for the first time since 2009. Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East witnessed substantial spikes, painting a vivid picture of escalating militarization across diverse regions of the world.


Senior Researcher Nan Tian from SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme has said that the underlying rationale behind this extraordinary rise in military spending is a “response to the global deterioration in peace and security.” While nations prioritize bolstering their military capabilities in the face of mounting threats, there exists a palpable risk of triggering an action-reaction cycle within an increasingly volatile geopolitical landscape.


Against the backdrop of escalating geopolitical rivalries and complex security challenges, the surge in military spending serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for concerted efforts towards dialogue, cooperation, and sustainable peace building initiatives. Failure to address the underlying drivers of insecurity risks perpetuating a costly cycle of arms escalation, with potentially devastating consequences for global peace and prosperity.



Military Spending: Ukraine Closes Gap with Russia


Recent data reveals a significant narrowing of the military spending gap between Ukraine and Russia. In 2023, Russia’s military expenditure surged by 24%, reaching an estimated $109 billion, marking a 57% increase since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Russia’s military spending accounted for 16% of its total government expenditure, with a military burden (military spending as a share of gross domestic product, GDP) of 5.9%.

Meanwhile, Ukraine emerged as the eighth largest spender in 2023, experiencing a 51% surge in military spending, totalling $64.8 billion. This translated to a military burden of 37%, representing a significant portion—58%—of total government spending.

Despite Ukraine’s military spending in 2023 amounting to just 59% of Russia’s expenditure, the country received military aid, totalling at least $35 billion throughout the year. Of this aid, $25.4 billion was provided by the United States alone. When combined with Ukraine’s military spending, this aid package closed the gap to an extent, equivalent to approximately 91% of Russia’s total military spending.

This surge is the international community’s support for Ukraine in the face of ongoing geopolitical tensions and regional instability, staggering the balance of power in the region and prompting renewed scrutiny of Russia’s military strategy and geopolitical ambitions.

USA Continues to Lead NATO in Military Spending as European Members Increase Contributions

In 2023, the collective military expenditure of the 31 NATO members amounted to $1341 billion, constituting 55% of the world’s total military spending. The United States remained the primary contributor, with military spending reaching $916 billion, representing 68% of the total NATO military expenditure.

Most European NATO members witnessed an uptick in military spending in 2023. Collectively, they accounted for 28% of the NATO total, marking the highest share in a decade. The remaining 4% came from Canada and Turkey.

Lorenzo Scarazzato, a researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, highlighted the significant shift in security outlook among European NATO states, particularly influenced by the conflict in Ukraine. This change in threat perceptions has led to a redirection of resources towards military spending, with the NATO target of 2% of GDP increasingly viewed as a baseline rather than a mere threshold.

China’s Increased Military Spending Spurs Regional Arms Race

China, ranked as the world’s second-largest military spender, allocated approximately $296 billion to its military in 2023, marking a 6.0% increase from the previous year. This marks the 29th consecutive year of rising military expenditure for China, with the country now accounting for half of the total military spending across the Asia and Oceania region. In response to China’s escalating military investments, several neighbouring countries have ramped up their defence budgets.

Japan, for instance, allocated $50.2 billion to its military in 2023, representing an 11% increase from the previous year. Similarly, Taiwan’s military expenditure surged by 11% in 2023, reaching $16.6 billion. Xiao Liang, a researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, highlighted China’s focus on enhancing the combat readiness of its People’s Liberation Army, prompting neighbouring governments to bolster their military capabilities in response.

Military spending in the Middle East experienced a surge, increasing by 9.0% to reach $200 billion in 2023. This growth rate represents the highest annual increase in the region over the past decade.

Israel, holding the second-largest military budget in the region after Saudi Arabia, witnessed a 24% rise in military spending, reaching $27.5 billion in 2023. This increase was primarily driven by Israel’s military offensive. The surge in military spending reflects the region’s evolving geopolitical tensions and the spectre of wider regional conflicts.

In the Middle East, Iran ranked as the fourth largest military spender in 2023, allocating $10.3 billion. Data revealed a significant shift in military spending allocation, with the share allocated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps growing from 27% to 37% between 2019 and 2023.

India Ranks 4th Globally in Military Spending for 2023

India emerged as the fourth largest military spender worldwide in 2023, with its military expenditure reaching $83.6 billion, marking an increase of 4.2% compared to 2022.

Amongst the countries with the most substantial percentage increase in military spending, the Democratic Republic of the Congo stood out with a staggering 105% surge. This increase comes amidst prolonged conflict between the government and non-state armed groups. South Sudan followed closely with a 78% rise, driven by internal violence and spillage from the Sudanese civil war.

In Europe, Poland experienced a growth in military spending, reaching $31.6 billion, marking a 75% increase from 2022—the most significant annual rise among European nations.

Brazil’s military spending saw a 3.1% uptick to $22.9 billion in 2023. In response to NATO spending guidelines, members of Brazil’s Congress submitted a constitutional amendment aimed at increasing the country’s military burden to a minimum of 2% of GDP annually.

Algeria witnessed a substantial 76% increase in military spending, reaching $18.3 billion, fuelled primarily by a surge in revenue from gas exports to European countries transitioning away from Russian supplies.