China hikes defence budget to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India


China, the second-largest military spender after the US, on Friday increased its defense budget by 6.6 per cent to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India, amid the communist giant’s lowest wage increase in recent years. Huge disruption to the economy by the COVID-19 pandemic. China, which has the world’s largest army of two million soldiers, will continue to reduce its defense budget growth rate to 6.6 percent in 2020, according to a draft budget report presented to the country’s top legislature National People’s Congress (NPC) on Friday. Will keep ,

The Defense Budget for 2020 is witnessing single-digit growth for the fifth year in a row. This is the lowest growth rate in recent years, according to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency. According to the draft submitted to the NPC, China’s defense budget this year will be around 1.27 trillion yuan (about $179 billion) against last year’s $177.61 billion. The report noted that China’s total defense spending in 2019 was a quarter of that of the United States, the world’s largest defense spender, while per capita spending was just one-seventeenth.

At a media briefing on Thursday, NPC spokesman Zhang Yesui criticized China’s lack of transparency in defense spending, which defense analysts say far exceeds Beijing’s announcement of a rapid expansion of military and modern weapons. Is. Zhang said China has no “hidden military spending”. He said that China has been submitting reports on its military spending to the United Nations every year since 2007.

“Where the money comes from and how the money is used is accounted for,” Zhang said. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the military spending figures of China’s defense spending stood at USD 232 billion in 2019. While China compares its defense expenditure to that of the US, whose defense budget stood at USD 732 billion according to SIPRI, Beijing’s massive defense modernization drive requires India and several other countries to increase their own defense budgets to ensure a proper balance of power. Motivating to grow. According to a write-up at the Indian Institute for Defense and Analysis (IDSA), India’s budget for 2020 is USD 66.9 billion (Rs 4,71,378 crore).

China’s latest budget of $179 billion is about 2.7 times more than that of India. Zhang said China’s defense spending has been around 1.3 percent of its GDP for many years, far below the world average of 2.6 percent. China’s defense budget has made headlines in recent years as it embarked on a massive modernization drive that included the rapid development of multiple aircraft carriers, stealth aircraft, and modern naval warships.

However, growth in defense spending has slowed since the trade war between China and the US. This has put pressure on China’s economy, which is now further hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to government data, China’s GDP grew 6 percent in the three months to September 30, 2019, the weakest quarterly growth rate since 1992 and 6.2 percent in the April-June period. It also missed the average forecast of 6.1 percent predicted by analysts.

The announcement of the defense budget comes at a time when China is embroiled in territorial disputes with neighboring countries including India, Japan and Vietnam. Tension on the border between India and China has also increased and the armies of both countries have clashed twice in Ladakh and Sikkim in May. Relations between China and the US have also become strained as Washington has blamed Beijing for covering up the coronavirus pandemic.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power, China has reformed its defense forces, slashed three million troops and increased its navy and air power as Beijing expanded its influence overseas. . China currently has one aircraft carrier, the second is under trial while the third is being built. According to official media reports, China plans to have five to six aircraft carriers in the near future to challenge the US around the world, including in the South China Sea (SCS) behind Beijing.

Beijing claims almost all of the SCS as its territory. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have contested it. China is embroiled in heated territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built and militarized many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both regions are said to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also important for global trade.

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