China hikes defence budget to $175 bn, three times that of India

The increase of China's defence budget to 8.1% this year, is three times higher than India's latest defence budget of about $52.5 billion

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Beijing: China today announced an 8.1% increase of its defence expenditure for this year amounting to $175 billion, which is over three times higher than India’s defence budget.

China will raise its defence budget by 8.1% in 2018, according to a budget report to be submitted to the national legislature today, which is up from last year’s seven percent.

The 2018 defence budget will be 1.11 trillion yuan ($175 billion), state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the official documents submitted to the National People’s Congress (NPC).

China last year increased the military budget to $150.5 billion. China is the second largest spender on defence after the US. The defence budget of the US which is the highest in the world amounted to $602.8 billion.

The increase of China’s military budget to 8.1% this year, is three times higher than India’s latest defence budget of about $52.5 billion.

Though China announced its military spending at about $150.5 billion last year, observers say it is considerably higher, considering it is now building two more aircraft carriers in addition to the one already in service as well an addition of new jet fighters, including stealth fighter J-20.

Chinese Navy also expanded its global reach with flotilla ships sailing through the far-off oceans to expand China’s influence.

The official media justified the increase to $175 billion saying that, although slightly higher than the previous two years, the growth rate is the third time to dip into the single digit since 2013, following 7.6% in 2016 and 7% in 2017.

China’s military budget takes up a smaller share of its gross domestic product (GDP) and national fiscal expenditure compared with other major countries, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson of the NPC told media here yesterday.

It’s military spending per capita is also lower than other major countries, Zhang said.

“A large part of the growth of the defence budget is to make up for the low military spending in the past and is mainly used to upgrade equipment and improve the welfare of servicemen and women and the living and training conditions of grassroots troops,” he said.

PTI