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Global Rise In Military Spendings, Data States

Eighteen years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, the world's military spending is at an all-time high

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U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in have lunch with troops at U.S. military installation Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2017. VOA

Eighteen years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, the world’s military spending is at an all-time high. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, military spending was $1.8 trillion in 2018 alone, which SIPRI Senior Researcher Pieter Wezeman called a “worrying trend.”

“We have to see that as a warning signal, not necessarily something which will lead to war, but something which needs very close attention,” Wezeman told VOA.

data, military, spending, rise, safer
A U.S. fighter jet takes off from the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to patrol the international waters off the South China Sea, Aug. 6, 2019. VOA

Military spending hit a post-Cold War low in 1998, but took a sharp rise after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

The Obama administration began making military budget cuts during efforts to end U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now military spending is on the rise again — thanks to Russia and China.

Speaking exclusively with VOA, the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper called Russia and China “revisionist powers that would like to be in a place where they’re not.”

“I wouldn’t call this an arms race,” Cooper said, “but what is different is that we are in places that are more competitive than they were in the past.”

The United States accounts for more than a third of global military spending.

It boasts 11 aircraft carriers, a powerful nuclear arsenal, new elite fighter jets and about 2.1 million troops. Experts agree its military remains the dominant force.

“I think sometimes there’s a tendency to make Russia and China 30 feet tall, and they’re not,” Bradley Bowman, a former military officer and a current senior director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told VOA. “There are real vulnerabilities there that we could exploit in a conflict, but there are also areas where they’re more advanced than we are.”

‘Coerce and defeat’

China is now the world’s second-largest military spender — going from just 2% of the world’s military budget in 1990 to 14% now.

data, military, spending, rise, safer
Troops are seen by a row of over a dozen army jeeps at the Shek Kong military base of People’s Liberation Army in New Territories, Hong Kong, China, Aug. 29, 2019. VOA

Bowman warned allies and partners that China has undertaken this comprehensive effort to modernize its military in order to “coerce and defeat” the U.S. and its allies in a future conflict.

China built two aircraft carriers in the past decade, and a third is under construction. China has developed its own elite fighter jets, troop numbers have swelled to more than 2.5 million, and it is investing in new technologies, including hypersonics weapons that would fly five times the speed of sound.

Wezeman says the swift modernization has been “perceived as a threat by its neighbors.”

Other top spenders

In reaction, India has upped its military spending by more than $11 billion in just three years, now ranking fourth overall behind Saudi Arabia.

ALSO READ: As Climate Change Brings Extreme Heat Waves around The World, Demand for Air Conditioners Soaring

Although Russia slipped from the top five spending countries in 2018, it still has NATO’s attention after invading Georgia in 2008 and annexing part of Ukraine in 2014.

The 29 NATO countries spent $963 billion, 53% of world military spending, in 2018.

That number is likely to increase as the U.S. continues to pressure NATO allies to spend 2% of their Gross Domestic Product on defense.

“We can’t let countries off the hook,” U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “You can’t simply substitute and say, ‘Well, my 2% is going to go to technology, or I’m going to build infrastructure. I can’t deter a Russian brigade with a road.’ We need real capability.” (VOA)

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India Ranked 5th Worst Country For Use of Biometric Data: Comparitech Report

India is the 5th worst country for biometric data collection

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India is ranked the 5th worst country for the use of biometric data. Pixabay

India is the fifth worst country after China, Malaysia, Pakistan and the US in terms of extensive and invasive use of biometric data, according to a new report from Britain-based tech research firm Comparitech on Wednesday.

India shares the fifth position with Taiwan, Indonesia and the Philippines, said the study.

India ranked relatively lower in the list of worst countries for biometric data collection as it does not permit law enforcement to get access to the national biometric database known as Aadhaar.

For the study, the researchers analysed 50 different countries to find out where biometrics are being taken, what they are being taken for, and how they are being stored.

Each country has been scored out of 25, with high scores indicating extensive and invasive use of biometrics and/or surveillance and a low score demonstrating better restrictions and regulations regarding biometric use and surveillance.

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India ranked relatively lower in the list of worst countries for biometric data collection as it does not permit law enforcement to get access to the national biometric database. Pixabay

Among the factors used for scoring the countries, the researchers looked at whether the country failed to introduce a law to protect biometric data.

While China scored 24 out of 25, India scored 19.

Despite many countries recognising biometric data as sensitive, increased biometric use is widely accepted, said the study.

Also Read- Top 5 B. Tech Specialisations in India

Countries in the European Union scored better overall than non-EU countries due to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations protecting the use of biometrics at the workplace to some extent.

Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, the UK and Romania emerged as the five best countries in terms of collection, storage and use of biometric data, the results showed. (IANS)