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China hikes defense budget by 12.2 per cent to USD 132 bln

March 05
03:09 2014

China hikes defence budget by 12.2 per cent to USD 132 blnBEIJING: China today announced a hefty hike of 12.2 per cent in its defense budget for the world’s largest armed forces to USD 132 billion, the biggest rise since 2011 and nearly four times that of India’s military expenditure.

China plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2 per cent to 808.2 billion yuan (about USD 132 billion) this year, according to the budgetary proposals presented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang to China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

China’s plan to hike the spending on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) this year came amid its standoff with Japan and a major US military push into Asia Pacific.

China last year spent about USD 117.7 billion on defense, a 10.7 per cent increase from 2012. The rise in defense spending was 11.2 per cent in 2012 and 12.7 per cent in 2011.

Curiously this year, China has not announced its domestic security budget for all the provinces which last year was fixed at 769.1 billion yuan far above its defense budget.

In the allocations announced by Li today, only pubic security funding from the central pool was mentioned. It was stated to be 205.065 billion yuan (about USD 33 billion), an increase of 6.1 per cent. No figures from provincial and regional governments were mentioned unlike the previous years.

The internal security spending was expected to be far higher this year, especially after the Saturday’s Kunming railway station knife attacks by Xinjiang militants in which 33 people were killed and 143 others injured.

From India’s point of view China’s defense spending is far higher than USD 36 billion allocated in last month’s interim budget which amounted to ten per cent hike.

The size of Beijing’s increased defense spending could put more pressure on the new government in New Delhi to look to scale up military spending further.

Chinese officials argue that Beijing is pinning its defense expenditure to 1.3 per cent of its GDP which last year stood at 7.7 per cent.

Chinese officials also refute allegations that China’s defense budget does not reflect overall expenditure, specially the spending on defense research and development, arms procurement and defense industrial activities besides procurements of weapons from abroad.

In recent years, China has embarked on a big military modernization by acquiring its first aircraft carrier with few more in the pipeline besides acquiring a new class of submarines, naval ships and stealth aircraft in preparations to face US Pivot to Asia.–PTI

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