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A representational image showing armed soldiers aiming at a target during training. — AFP/File
  • US, Russia boost military spending by 2% and 24%, respectively.
  • SIPRI underscores large share of GDP directed towards militaries.
  • NATO responsible for 55% of global military spending.

STOCKHOLM: As the world remains gripped with various armed conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war and Israel’s offensive in Gaza, the global military spending witnessed a 7% hike in 2023, the highest since 2009, to reach $2.43 trillion.

As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading think-tank based in Sweden, the United States (US) and China  emerged as the top two countries to have spent the most on their militaries.

Senior researcher at SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme Nan Tian said that although countries are prioritising military strength, they risk an action-reaction spiral in the increasingly volatile geopolitical and security landscape.

SIPRI said Russia hiked its military spending by 24% to an estimated $109 billion; whereas, Ukraine increased its spending by 51% to $65 billion and received at least $35 billion in military aid from other countries.

“Combined, this aid and Ukraine’s own military spending were equivalent to about 91% of Russian spending,” the think-tank said.

It stated that the spending of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member countries totalled 55% of the world’s expenditure.

“For European NATO states, the past two years of war in Ukraine have fundamentally changed the security outlook,” SIPRI researcher Lorenzo Scarazzato said.

“This shift in threat perceptions is reflected in growing shares of the gross domestic product (GDP) being directed towards military spending, with the NATO’s target of 2% increasingly being seen as a baseline rather than a threshold to reach.”

SIPRI said most European NATO members had boosted such spending. Meanwhile, the US raised it by 2% to $916 billion, representing around two-thirds of total NATO military spending.

It is pertinent to know that NATO member states are expected to set aside at least 2% of GDP for defence expenditure by the alliance.

The percentage changes are expressed in real terms, in constant 2022 prices, SIPRI added.

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