Global military spending rose in 2017 to its highest level since the Cold War, with the United States, China and Saudi Arabia topping the list, a Swedish-based research institute says.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimated that global military expenditure totalled $US1.73 trillion ($2.29 trillion) in 2017, up 1.1 per cent on 2016.
The United States remained the world’s largest spender with $US610 billion ($$810 billion), unchanged year-on-year. The US accounted for over a third of global military expenditure.
Second-placed China was estimated to have spent $US228 billion ($304 billion), and according to SIPRI accounted for the largest absolute increase in spending – $US12 billion ($16 billion) as measured in constant 2016 prices.
The research institute said it estimated that China’s share of global spending had doubled since 2008 to 13 per cent.
Saudi Arabia replaced Russia in third place, spending $US69.4 billion ($92.7 billion) in 2017.
Russia’s spending meanwhile dropped by one fifth in real terms compared to 2016 to $US66.3 billion ($88.5 billion). It was the first drop since 1998. SIPRI attributed the drop to factors such as falling oil prices.
India edged France to take fifth place, spending almost $US64 billion ($85 billion).
SIPRI said its figures include salaries, costs for operations, purchases of arms and equipment as well as research and development.