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China hikes defence budget to $132 billion; four times more than India

March 05, 2014 08:30 IST

China on Wednesday announced a 12.2 per cent increase in its defence budget taking the military spending for this year to $132 billion, far above India's $36 billion.

China plans to raise its defence budget by 12.2 per cent to 808.2 billion yuan (about $132 billion) this year, according to the budgetary proposals presented by premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday to China's legislature, the National People's Congress.

In 2013, China had spent 720.197 billion yuan on national defence budget (about $117.7 billion), a 10.7 per cent increase from 2012. From India's point of view China's defence spending is far higher than $36 billion allocated in last month's interim budget which amounted to 10 per cent hike.

This year's increase in China's defence budget is far above that of last year in terms of percentage and announced in the midst of massive modernisation of China's military.

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Defending the progressive increase of China's defence budgets, Fu Ying, spokesperson of NPC told the media on Tuesday that "based on our history and experience, we believe that peace can only be maintained by strength."

China's military spending has long been cited as a cause for concern in western countries. "We have heard such concerns... Indeed, certain countries have been selling the idea of China as a major threat," Fu said.

Meanwhile, double-digit growth in China's defence budget in recent years has caused some concerns from western countries. But defence experts defended it by saying that China's military expenditure is moderate and in line with the country's economic conditions.

Yin Zhuo, director of the expert consultation committee of the People's Liberation army navy, said China's military spending is still far from the level it needs to be as the country faces increasingly severe security challenges.

lthough the rise in the defence budget in the past three years has surpassed GDP growth, the share of the defence spending in GDP amounted to 1.4 per cent, which is still far below the world average of 3 per cent, Yin was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

A report released by London's International Institute for Strategic Studies showed the United States remained the world's biggest defence spender in 2013, with a budget of $600.4 billion in 2013, a Xinhua report said.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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