Sri Lanka to cut its army by a third to cut costs

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will reduce its army by a third to 135,000 troops by next year and 100,000 by 2030, the state minister for defense said on Friday, as the country tries to cut costs in the face of its worst economic crisis in more than seven decades.
“Military spending is essentially government spending that indirectly stimulates and opens avenues for economic growth by ensuring national and human security,” Premitha Bandara Thennakoon said in a statement.
The goal of the move is to create a “technically and tactically sound and well-rounded defense force” by 2030, Thennakoon said.
The size of the Sri Lankan armed forces peaked between 2017 and 2019, at 317,000 men, according to World Bank data, a figure even higher than during the 25-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (LTTE) which ended in 2009.
The defense sector’s share of Sri Lanka’s total spending peaked in 2021, at 2.31% of gross domestic product (GDP), but fell to 2.03% last year, the think tank says. Verite Research based in Colombo.
The island nation of 22 million people was forced to cut public spending after sliding into a deep economic crisis last year when foreign exchange reserves dried up.


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