Asia Arms Itself in Global Defense Shift
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Military spending is on the rise worldwide — especially in Asia.
With geopolitical tensions simmering across the region, the weight of global defense outlays is “clearly shifting” toward the Asia-Pacific, as well as the Middle East, according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Worldwide, they rose slightly to $1.7 trillion last year, or roughly 2.2 percent of global GDP.
While the U.S., China, Saudi Arabia and Russia remain the biggest buyers, the world’s top five has a surprising new entrant: India.
Driven partly by strategic rivalries with China and Pakistan, New Delhi’s spending increased 5.5 percent in 2017 from 2016 to reach $63.9 billion. But that doesn’t exactly mean India is fielding advanced weapons along its borders. In fact, most of the boost is being eaten up by sprawling personnel costs, as well as a reliance on expensive arms imports.
Even so, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping recently to try and minimize the chance of a border standoff like the one last year in the Himalayas, it may allow India to focus more on diplomacy than flexing its military muscle.
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