India has become one of the five biggest defence spenders in the world, due to rising tensions with its regional rivals China and Pakistan, it is claimed.

India has overtaken France to join the US, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, as its military budget rose by 5.5 per cent, to $63.9 billion (£46.8bn) in 2017, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), released on Wednesday.

The study suggested the rise in India’s defence spending coincided with the pursuit of dominance in Asia, as well as a dependence on imported weapons and large manpower costs. 

Worldwide military spending as a whole rose to $1.73 trillion, around 2.2 per cent of global gross domestic…

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