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Global military spending rises despite crisis: SIPRI


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STOCKHOLM (BNS): World military expenditure in 2009 totalled an estimated $1531 billion, according to new figures released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The report has showcased an increase of 5.9% in real terms compared to 2008 and an increase of 49% since 2000.

"Many countries were increasing public spending generally in 2009, as a way of boosting demand to combat the recession," said Sam Perlo-Freeman, the head of SIPRI's military expenditure project, as quoted in a SIPRI news release.

The far-reaching effects of the global financial crisis and economic recession appear to have had little impact on the world military expenditure. The USA, with a real-terms increase of $47 billion, accounted for 54% of the world increase in military expenditure. In the region wise analysis, Asia and Oceania showed the fastest real-terms increase with 8.9%.

"The figures also demonstrate that for major or intermediate powers such as the USA, China, Russia, India and Brazil military spending represents a long-term strategic choice which they are willing to make even in hard economic times," added Freeman.

A part of the 2009 military spending hike can be attributed to a sharp increase in so-called peacekeeping operations, especially in Afghanistan, which also reached record levels last year.

In all, 54 peacekeeping missions took place around the globe in 2009, costing a record total of 9.1 billion dollars. Most of the military spending in Afghanistan had gone towards counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and the strengthening of the Afghan security forces, SIPRI said.

The report has also estimated that there were around 7500 operational nuclear warheads in the arsenals of the eight nuclear-armed states (USA, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and Israel). Of these, almost 2000 were kept on high alert and capable of being launched in minutes.

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