2012-04-18 (China Military News cited from AP and by MALIN RISING) — The global financial crisis hit military spending in the U.S. and Europe last year, while Russia and China kept increasing their spending on weapons, a leading think tank said Tuesday.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says budget cuts kept worldwide military expenditures nearly flat at 0.3 percent in 2011, marking an end to an 11-year trend of growing arms spending.
Russia overtook Britain and France to become the world’s third largest arms spender, to the tune of some $8 billion — a 9.3 percent increase over 2010.
China also boosted its purchases by 6.7 percent to around $143 billion, remaining the world’s second largest arms investor.
The world’s leading arms buyer, the United States, cut military expenditure by 1.2 percent to $711 billion, while Europe marginally increased its spending to $407 billion.
“The aftereffects of the global economic crisis, especially deficit-reduction measures in USA and Europe, have finally brought the decade-long rise in military spending to a halt — at least for now,” said Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Project.
Last year, six of the world’s top military spenders — Brazil, France, Germany, India, Britain and the U.S. — cut their military budgets.
One of the key reasons for the slight U.S. decline was the long delay in Congress agreeing on a 2011 budget as the Obama administration clashed with Republicans over measures to reduce the deficit, SIPRI said.
The institute expects American arms spending to continue falling due to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and the Budget Control Act, passed by Congress last year.
Russia’s growing expenditure was mainly driven by the country’s aim to replace 70 percent of its Soviet-era military equipment with modern weaponry by 2020, SIPRI said, adding that it expects the Kremlin to increase its military spending in coming years.