The global military expenditure has hit its highest level since 1988 with nearly $2 trillion in 2020, according to an international survey on Monday.
Total military spending rose 2.6% from the previous year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
Military spending as a share of GDP – the military burden – reached a global average of 2.4% in 2020, up from 2.2% in 2019. This was the biggest year-on-year rise in the military burden since the global financial and economic crisis in 2009.
Diego Lopes da Silva, a researcher with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Program, pointed out that the pandemic did not have a significant impact on global military spending in 2020.
The US, China, India, Russia, and the UK were the top five spenders in 2020, with 62% of the global military expenditure, the survey said.
The US military spending rose 4.4% to $778 billion, making 39% of the total military expenditure last year.
Alexandra Marksteiner, another researcher at SIPRI, stressed the US spent mostly on research and development (R&D), and several long-term projects such as modernizing the US nuclear arsenal and large-scale arms procurement.
"This reflects growing concerns over perceived threats from strategic competitors such as China and Russia, as well as the [Donald] Trump administration’s drive to bolster what it saw as a depleted US military," Marksteiner.
China increased its military expenditure by 1.9%, India 2.1%, Russia 2.5%, and the UK 2.9%.
“China stands out as the only major spender in the world not to increase its military burden in 2020 despite increasing its military expenditure, because of its positive GDP growth last year,” said Nan Tian, a senior SIPRI researcher.