Military spending not dented by economic crisis, says instituteJune 2nd, 2010 - 5:52 am ICT by IANS
Stockholm, June 2 (DPA) The global economic crisis had little impact on world military spending in 2009 where the United States remained the world’s largest military spender, a Swedish-based peace research institute reported Wednesday.
Last year, global military expenditures totalled $1.5 trillion - or $224 per capita - up six percent in real terms on 2008 and a 49-percent increase since 2000, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.
“Most major economies boosted public spending to counteract the recession, postponing deficit reduction. While military expenditure was not a major feature of economic stimulus packages, it was generally not cut either,” SIPRI said.
SIPRI estimated that the US had a 43-percent share of world military spending or $661 billion in 2009.
The “escalating conflict in Afghanistan” was a factor driving US expenditure and also accounted for growing costs in Britain and Canada.
China was estimated to account for about 6.6 percent of global spending or some $100 billion while France, Britain, and Russia each accounted for some four percent, the SIPRI Yearbook said.
Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India and Italy were also among the world’s top-10 spenders.
Oil, gas and other natural resources has fuelled military spending and arms imports in several countries, SIPRI said.
However, falling oil and commodity prices in 2009 “somewhat slowed” spending in Iraq and Venezuela, while others like Nigeria and Russia “increased spending, but at a much lower rate than in recent years”.
The institute has earlier reported an increase in combined arms sales from the world’s top 100 companies with sales of $385 billion in 2008, the latest year covered by SIPRI.
British-based BAE Systems was the world’s largest arms group in 2008. Of the 100 largest companies, 44 were US-based, 34 were based in western Europe. Companies in Russia, Japan, Israel, and India had most of the remainder. China was not included in the estimate.
The US and Russia remained the world’s largest arms exporters 2005-2009, accounting for 30 and 23 percent, respectively. Major importers included China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Greece and South Korea.
In its annual outlook, the institute said there were 17 major armed conflicts in 2009, one more than in 2008.
The report also noted that “criminal groups and profit-driven motives” were linked to many conflicts, including piracy off Somalia, opium production in Afghanistan and drug trafficking in Mexico.
In 2009, SIPRI registered 54 peacekeeping operations of which 17 were in Europe and 16 in Africa. Almost nine in 10 of the roughly 220,000 staff deployed in peacekeeping were military personnel.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan was the largest single multilateral operation with over 84,000 troops.
According to the yearbook, eight states had almost 7,500 operational nuclear weapons in early 2010 of which some 2,000 were kept at a high level of readiness.
Russian-US negotiations on cuts of strategic nuclear weapons progressed and were aided by a speech US President Barack Obama held in Prague in April 2009, SIPRI researchers said.
The dossier noted that nuclear research programmes in North Korea and Iran continued to generate controversy, including a nuclear test conducted by North Korea in May 2009.
The Swedish parliament created SIPRI as an independent foundation in 1966.
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