Beijing: China`s new defence budget of USD 115.7 billion may have raised hackles in India but Chinese state media say it is small compared to USD 700 billion budget of US, pointing out that the proportion of the hike has been decreased for second consecutive year.
The 10.7 per cent increase in the new budget represents a drop in the annual growth rate for two years in a row, China Daily said in its report.
China had increased its defence budget in 2011 by 12.7 per cent and 11.2 per cent in 2012. The biggest increase of 17.6 per cent (USD 70 billion) came in 2008.
The Daily said China`s defence spending though second only to that of US is about one-sixth of the Pentagon’s budget and much lower on both a per-capita basis and as a proportion of GDP.
Yin Zhuo, director of the Chinese Navy Advisory Committee for Informatisation, told the China News Service that despite the fact China has become the world`s second largest economy, its national defence budget this year accounts for just 1.7 per cent of the GDP, a much lower number compared to US defense budget of 4.5 to 4.8 per cent.
China`s military budget amounted to about 1.25 per cent of its GDP in 2012.
The ratio was less than the 2.6 per cent of Britain, 3.9 per cent of Russia and many other countries, he said.
In its editorial the Global Times said the increase is not a reason to "fuss".
"China is the world`s second-largest economy, with its military spending also placing second globally. Such a correlation is not surprising," it said.
"There are many uncertainties facing China`s strategic security. Hazards not only come from China`s neighbouring countries, such as Japan and the Philippines, who are bolstered by a sense US support," it said.
"China hopes to develop peacefully. However, China`s military power must keep in step with its strategic interest. If this does not happen, the country risks falling behind and becoming vulnerable or passive in the face of others` provocations," it said.