Saudi Arabia spent $61.9Billion on military expenditure in 2019 compared to 67.6Billion in 2018- a decline of 16% which is surprising considering its ongoing war in Yemen and tensions with Iran, according to the latest Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report.
Saudi Arabia has been facing pressure from falling oil revenues as is evident from defence expenditure as percentage of GDP remaining at a high 8% despite the fall in total expenditure.
The fall in defence spending pushed Saudi Arabia to fourth place, behind India, this year where the first two spots were occupied by the United States and China.
India’s defence expenditure rose to $7.1Billion in 2019 compared to $66.6 billion in 2018 thanks some big ticket purchases such as the S-400 air defense system from Russia for $5Billion.
China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1 per cent increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8 per cent to $71.1 billion.
Military spending by the US grew by 5.3 per cent to a total of $732 billion in 2019. America’s main allies in Asia, Japan ($47.6 billion) and South Korea ($43.9 billion) were the largest military spenders in Asia-Pacific