In a move that will be closely watched in the region, China has announced its intention to increase its annual defence spending by 10 per cent.
National People’s Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying gave the rough estimate figure and said it was in line with overall spending growth. Ms Fu said China had not forgotten lessons from history — “those who fall behind will get bullied.”
“Our country will achieve modernisation, of which national defence modernisation is an important part. This requires a certain guaranteed amount of funding,” Ms Fu added.
In 2014, China’s defence spending had gone up 12.2% to $130 billion from the previous year. Similarly, US President Barack Obama has also urged in the upcoming fiscal year 2016 a budget of $585 billion for defence.
India had also announced almost 11% hike in its defence spending, with a $40 billion defence budget for 2015-16.
According to Chinese media, the increase in defence spending was required to modernise the People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest standing military force.
An official statement will be made on March 5 when the annual parliament session begins.
“In addition, we must strengthen the protection of our officers and soldiers. But fundamentally speaking, China’s defence policy is defensive in nature. This is clearly defined in the constitution. We will not easily change this direction and principle.” Ms Fu said.
India has a long-standing boundary dispute with China. India’s diplomatic-strategic establishment views China’s military modernisation with a threat perception. Partly with the China challenge on mind, the Modi government has unveiled a Make in India campaign to boost indigenous military production and to modernise its weaponry.
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