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India's defence budget makes its way to world's top 5, overtakes UK: Report

India continues to modernise its military capabilities, though China still remains a challenge with the world's second-largest defence budget

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Army, soldiers, BSF, jawans, defence, security forces, border
Illustration: Ajay Mohanty

India's broke into the world's top five, beating the UK for the first time, a new report by a London-based global think-has said, signalling a key shift in the military balance between the two countries. overtook the UK as the fifth-largest defence spender in the world in 2017 at USD 52.5 billion, up from USD 51.1 billion in 2016, according to the 'Military Balance 2018' report by the for Strategic Studies (IISS). In contrast, the UK's fell from USD 52.5 billion in 2016 to USD 50.7 billion last year. "This represents a key shift in the military balance between and the UK, with allocating more capabilities to develop its regional resources than the UK in a global context," said IISS Senior Fellow for South Asia, The report notes that while continues to modernise its military capabilities, with the world's second-largest after the US remains far ahead with three times India's at USD 150.5 billion. China's real defence spending increased by nearly 25 per cent in 2016-17, whereas India's rose by just 2.4 per cent. "Post-Dokalam, India's military balance with continues to be significantly in China's favour.

Since 2000, has built more submarines, destroyers, frigates and corvettes than Japan, and combined. will continue to dominate the region militarily and seek to challenge the US in the region as well, Roy-Chaudhury notes. According to the analysis, the has over 600,000 more active personnel than India; it has nearly 1,200 tactical aircraft compared to Indias 785; and 55 more cruisers, destroyers and frigates than The report takes note of the Indian government's 'Make in India' policy, which aims to strengthen the defence-industrial base through measures such as "reforming the cap on foreign direct investment" (FDI) and that the country is one of the top troop contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. "The overall capability of the (Indian) army is limited by inadequate logistics, and shortages of ammunition and spare parts. Defence cooperation with the US continues to grow, with an increasing level of exercising and sales of US equipment. "Development and procurement programmes across the services are aimed at replacing ageing equipment, but many projects have experienced significant delays and cost overruns, particularly indigenous systems, the report finds. IISS says the new Indian Joint Armed Forces Doctrine issued last year sees an "emerging triad" of space, cyber and special-operations capabilities complementing conventional land, sea and air capabilities as continues to modernise its strategic forces, particularly its delivery systems. Overall, the report found that and Russia, with the worlds fourth-largest at USD 61.2 billion, are challenging the military supremacy of the US (USD 602.8 billion) and its allies and that the West can no longer rely on the strategic advantage it has enjoyed until now. Saudi Arabia, with a defence spending of USD 76.7 billion, came in third to complete the world's top five the US, China, Saudi Arabia, and

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 16:08 IST