China boosts defence budget by 7.2% amid ‘security challenges’; Where does India stand?


Image source: AP Chinese paramilitary police officers march across Tiananmen Square near the Great Hall.

China’s defense budget: China, struggling with an economic slowdown, has announced that it will increase its defense budget by 7.2 this year. The important announcement came amid Beijing facing global challenges — whether in the Indo-Pacific region or other regions where the United States is providing an appropriate response to any attempt to change international institutions.

A draft budget report released Sunday morning estimates that the government led by President Xi Jinping will spend nearly 1.55 trillion yuan ($224 billion).

This is notably low compared to the US, which had announced spending more than $800 million – nearly four times what China announced on Sunday. Last year it had increased the budget by 7.1%.

Citing outgoing Prime Minister Li Keqiang, CNN reported that the minister underlined that military spending is crucial for China to cope with international pressure. “The armed forces should intensify military training and preparedness across the board, develop new military strategic guidance, devote more energy to training under combat conditions, and make well-coordinated efforts to strengthen military work in all directions and domains,” CNN quoted the work report as saying. from Li. .

China sets economic growth at around 5%

The top economic official set the growth target for this year at “around 5%” after the end of anti-virus controls that kept millions of people at home and sparked protests. Growth in the world’s second largest economy fell to 3% last year, the second weakest level since at least the 1970s.

“We must prioritize the recovery and expansion of consumption,” Li said in a speech on government plans for the ceremonial National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

It is worth noting that China has been reeling under an economic slowdown since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country. Later, the strict “zero-covid” policy further plunged the economy into the worst position. Millions of people lost their jobs while several districts were forced to live under strict lockdown, resulting in increased citizen frustration.

Where is India located?

The Union budget for FY24 foresees a total expenditure of US$550 billion (Rs. 45,03,097 crores). The Ministry of Defense has allocated a total budget of USD 72 billion (Rs. 5,93,537.64 crores) which is 13.18% of the total budget. According to the ministry, the total defense budget represents an increase of USD 8.35 billion (Rs. 68,371.49 crores), which is 13% more than the 2022-23 budget.

The ministry said the increase was in line with maintenance of weapon systems, platforms including ships/aircraft and their logistics, improving fleet maintenance, non-salary income/operational allocation increased from US$7.63 billion ( Rs. 62,431 crores) in 2022-23 budget estimates to US$11 billion (Rs. 90,000 crores) in BE 2023-24. Capital allocation related to defense services modernization and infrastructure development has been increased to US$19.88 billion (Rs. 1,62,600 crores), an increase of 6.7% from FY23.

Also Read: China Responds to US on COVID Lab Leak Theory: ‘Has Already Contributed Hugely to Global Virus Detection Research’

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