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Defence: China hikes budget by 6.8% to USD 209 bn

Defence: China hikes budget by 6.8% to USD 209 bn

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Vinayak Barot

New Delhi: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Friday announced a whopping increase in its annual budget for this year by 6.8 per cent to USD 209 billion.

This comes amid rising challenges and tensions with the US and India with whom Beijing has been at loggerheads. Besides, its forays into the South China Sea have triggered new challenges in the recent past.

China’s increased defence budget is expected to trigger a cascading effect with the US, India and other countries following suit.

The budget hike was announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the country’s Parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

“Consecutive growth in China’s defence budget may force Washington to behave strictly with Beijing. Hike in the defence budget could be the reason for instability in Hong-Kong and other nations, neighbouring China,” said a US-based defence expert.

However, Beijing has tried to be defensive. A spokesperson of the NPC, Zhang Yesui, said “China’s efforts to strengthen the national defence do not target or threaten any other country.”

Last year, Chinese media said, the country had allocated 1.268 trillion yuan (about USD 196.44 billion) for its defence budget, which has been keeping a single-digit growth for the sixth consecutive year.

China’s defence budget is one-fourth of the US’s defence budget. Washington had recently announced a budget amount to USD 740.5 billion for defence.

China applies strict mechanisms of fiscal allocation and budget management on its defence expenditure, which is mainly assigned to personnel, training and sustainment, and equipment, Chinese media reported.

China has ‘voluntarily downsized’ its armed forces by over four million troops since 1978.


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