China hikes defence budget to USD 115.7 billion



Beijing: China on Tuesday hiked its defence budget by a whopping 10.7 per cent to USD 115.7 billion, dwarfing India's current defence spending of USD 37.4 billion, amid the communist giant's military ambitions and territorial disputes with neighbours.

The double-digit rise in defence budget for 2013-14 was announced by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Chinese Parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), which opened its annual session this morning which will also see once-in-a-decade power transfer.

Wen also hiked the interior budget to USD 122 billion. Also for the second consecutive year, China's internal security budget exceeded the defence spending as the Chinese government proposed an 8.7 per cent increase for the internal security budget taking the total to 769.1 billion yuan, (USD 122 billion).

Justifying the increase in defence budget, Wen said China should accelerate modernisation of national defence to strengthen military capabilities.

"We should resolutely uphold China's sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and ensure peaceful development," the 70-year-old leader said.

As per the budgetary papers placed at the NPC, a sum of 720.168 billion Yuan was allocated for defence, which at the current exchange rate amounted to USD 115.7 billion, to make Chinese armed forces more mechanised and information-based.

China spent USD 106.4 billion on national defence in 2012, an increase of 11.5 per cent than the previous year, making it one of the world's top defence spenders.

Outgoing Premier Wen also presented a lengthy work report on the decade old achievements of his government.

PTI