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17 Apr, 2012 16:11

Global military machine: Rise of Russia and China

Worldwide military spending held strong at $1.7 trillion dollars in 2011, despite the lingering global financial crisis. With US arms spending on the slide, Russia and China are on the rise.

The data released by The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI] shows that despite the astronomical global arms outlays for last year, the great recession halted a decade-long trend in increased military spending.While the United States remains by far the world’s biggest spender with a defense budget of US$711 billion dollars, its military spending decreased by 1.3 per cent from the previous year.That trend is only likely to continue, as the Pentagon is expected to make $478 billion in cuts over the next decade.China for its part held the second spot at $143 billion dollars, a 6.7 per cent increase from 2001.China’s steady growth has sent ripples throughout the region, with both India and Vietnam drastically increasing arms outlays over the last decade the perceived Chinese threat.New Delhi announced earlier this month it would increase defense spending by 17 per cent rise for 2012-2013, up to $40 billion.India has already eclipsed China as the world’s largest military hardware importer, and is projected to spend $137 billion on foreign contracts between 2013 and 2022.Russia meanwhile is on the rise, overtaking Britain and France to become the world’s third-largest arms spender at $72 billion dollars on arms last year.Russia’s defense budget is expected to grow by 53 per cent come 2014, a plan which put former Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin at loggerheads with outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev.Russia plans to spend over $600 billion on upgrading its armed forces over the next 10 years, though doubts remain if the country’s arms industry will be up to the task.While overall European spending crept up to $407 billion, Britain, France and Germany all faced recession-related cuts.While the head of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Project Sam Perlo-Freeman says “deficit reduction measures” had hit the United States hard, he did not see China catching up militarily anytime soon, AP reports.“The US is still going to maintain for the foreseeable future overwhelming military dominance,” he said. “The US still outspends China five to one, and Russia’s spending is half of China’s.”