Is there an international benchmark for identifying defence expenditure? In fact there is: a United Nations General Assembly resolution (35/142B of Dec 12, 1980) standardised the reporting of military expenditure. This benchmark is accepted almost globally; 115 countries have reported since 1981.
Resolution 35/142B only legislated what transparent governments, defence economists and academics, and people with common sense already understood. Expenditure on strategic nuclear weapons, it says, constitutes defence expenditure; so does expenditure on paramilitary forces that are organised, armed and employed for guarding the borders and which could be used in combat against another country. All expenditure on military personnel, including pensions for retired soldiers, is to be reported as defence expenditure. The construction and repair of structures and facilities used for defence, says Resolution 35/142, is military spending. Command and communications systems for defending the country should be financed from the defence budget.
New Delhi, however, distributes a hefty chunk of this spending across heads other than defence. Within India
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