The world’s military spending grew by only 1.3 percent in 2010, thanks to budget constraints caused by the global financial crisis, with the top five countries engaged in military spending identified as the United States, China, Britain, France and Russia, a Swedish think tank said Monday.
|South America, with 5.8 percent, was the region with the largest military spending growth, with countries such as Brazil seeking to increase their international influence, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The institution said global military spending in 2010 was at its lowest since 2001. It said the United States topped the list, spending $698 billion last year, followed by China with $119 billion, the United Kingdom with $59.6 billion, France with $59.3 billion and Russia with $58.7 billion. According to SIPRI, these top five countries were followed by Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India and Italy, in descending order.
In Turkey, on the other hand, military spending was recorded at $15.6 billion in 2010, a 4 percent reduction from the previous year, when the country spent $16.3 billion on arms, SIPRI stated. For many countries, military investment growth slowed or decreased as governments dealt with budget constraints, SIPRI said. Spending cuts were noticeable in countries with financial problems, such as Turkey’s western neighbor Greece, where the government spent $9.3 billion on arms last year, as opposed to $10.5 billion in 2009.
Regionally, growth in military spending in Asia slowed to 1.4 percent, reaching a total of $317 billion, while weapons outlays in Europe fell by 2.8 percent to $382 billion in 2010. China increased its military expenditures by just 3.8 percent to $119 billion in 2010, compared to a growth of 15 percent between 2008 and 2009. SIPRI reported that the Chinese government had linked its smaller increase in 2010 to the country’s weaker economic performance the year before.
Growth in US arms spending slowed to 2.8 percent in 2010, compared with a growth of 7.7 percent in 2009. However, the watchdog said the share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) spent on arms increased from 4.6 percent in 2009 to 4.8 percent in 2010, noting that the country accounted for $19.6 billion of the total $20.6 billion global increase in 2010. “Even in the face of efforts to bring down the soaring US budget deficit, military spending continues to receive privileged treatment,” SIPRI said in the report. “At 4.8 percent of GDP, US military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East,” said Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of SIPRI’s military expenditure project.
In the Middle East, military expenditures rose by 2.5 percent to $111 billion, mainly due to Saudi Arabia’s heavy arms spending. Major oil-producers in Africa, such as Algeria, Angola and Nigeria, also helped increase arms spending by 5.2 percent to $30.1 billion in the region, the think tank said.
12 April 2011, Tuesday / TODAY’S ZAMAN WITH AP, İSTANBUL