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Last Updated : Jul 24, 2019 11:37 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

China military spend jumped 1459 percent in 5 years

A white paper on `National Defense in the New Era’ says China will build the “people's army into a world-class army by the middle of this century”

Sanjib Kr Baruah

Undertaking an ongoing programme of speedy modernisation of its military architecture, the Chinese government had increased its defence spending by a whopping 1459 per cent in five years from 2012 to 2017, a white paper ‘China's National Defense in the New Era’ released by the Chinese government on Wednesday morning has revealed.

“From 2012 to 2017, China's defense spending increased from 669.192 billion yuan to 10,432.37 billion yuan. China’s GDP grew at an average annual rate of 9.04 percent at the current year’s price, the national fiscal expenditure grew at an average annual rate of 10.43 percent, the national defense expenditure grew at an average annual rate of 9.42 percent, and the national defense expenditure accounted for an average of 1.28 percent of GDP,” the document said.

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Normally secretive of military matters, the document claims the Chinese government has published the paper to “declare China's defensive national defense policy in the new era, introduce China's practice, purpose, and significance in building and consolidating national defense and a strong army, and enhance the international community's understanding of China's national defense.”

Stating that ‘China will not threaten anyone, and will not seek to establish a sphere of influence’ in an apparent effort to adopt a pacifist posture, the report said China’s national defense policy was ‘defensive’.

Noting that all major countries globally are adjusting their militaries and strategies, it said: “The United States carries out military technology and institutional innovation and seeks absolute military superiority. Russia has intensified its military reform of "new face", and the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, India and other countries are all adjusting and optimizing the military strength system.”

“We will strive to achieve national defense and military modernization by 2035, and build the people's army into a world-class army by the middle of this century”.

In an apparent reference to the few border confrontations with the Indian military, the report added: “We will strengthen the direction of solidarity between China and India and take effective measures to create favorable conditions for the peaceful settlement of the incident.”

Justifying the military spend, the white paper said that it was determined by China’s military needs and economic volume and that “in 2017 is less than a quarter of that in the United States”.

“Among the countries with the highest defense expenditures in the world in 2017, China’s national defense expenditures are at a relatively low level, both in terms of the proportion of GDP and national fiscal expenditure, and the per capita per capita and military per capita”.

“From the perspective of national defense expenditure as a percentage of GDP, from 2012 to 2017, China’s national defense expenditure accounted for an average of 1.3 percent of GDP, the United States is about 3.5 percent, Russia is about 4.4 percent, and India is about 2.5 percent. The UK is about 2.0 percent, France is about 2.3 percent, Japan is about 1.0 percent, and Germany is about 1.2 percent,” it added.

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First Published on Jul 24, 2019 11:37 am
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