Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has pushed global defence spending up by 9% to a record $2.2 trillion (£1.7trn) and NATO member states now accounts for around half of the total, which is a chilling sign that we are now living in a “more dangerous period.”
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said that the collective defence budgets for NATO, India, Russia and China are spending 70% of the world’s military spending.
The IISS said in their 2024 report “Military Balance” released on Tuesday that since Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 defence by non-US NATO countries has soared by 32%.
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“Russia’s aggression spurred European countries to boost defence spending and has strengthened NATO, with Finland adding combat power,” the IISS said.
“The pace of ammunition expenditure in the war between Russia and Ukraine has also caused a reckoning in the West that production capacities have atrophied, with countries scrambling to rectify shortcomings from years of underinvestment.”
Russia and China have recently been focussing on new high-tech such as hypersonic missiles that can travel at more than the five times the speed of sound.
More drones and uncrewed attack boats and torpedoes have been highly effective for Ukrainian forces against Russian assets, particularly on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea.
The IISS said ahead of the publication of the “Military Balance,” “Nuclear weapons are also very much back on the agenda, with China adding missile silos and the United States modernising warheads and delivery systems.”
The IISS warned on Tuesday that the world has now entered into a “more dangerous period in the last 12 months.”
The world is watching Russia’s war in Ukraine, Israel and Hamas which has caused tensions to escalate across the Middle East, Iran supplying weapons to the Houthis militants in Yemen to target shipping in the Red Sea and tensions are growing between China and the West.
Then there is Beijing threatening Taiwan, on top of this there is North Korea supplying weapons to Putin and Kim Jong-un wants to build and then launch a nuclear missile on the US.
Military heads across NATO have all sounded the alarm to recruit more soldiers, conscription or some form of national service in the UK is being called for and civilians have been warned to prepare for conflict as we are all living in a pre-war period.
The UK think tank said, “Global defence spending is up 9% from the previous year and poised to rise further in 2024, based on already announced spending commitments.”
Bastian Giegerich, director-general and chief executive of the IISS said, “The IISS Military Balance is published at an important time when the rules-based order is being increasingly questioned.
While Western defence spending is rising and plans to revamp equipment are ongoing, we reflect on the challenges including those set by Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, China’s military modernisation and events in the Middle East.”