South Asia and Beyond

China’s Defence Budget Goes Past $200 Billion

China has hiked its defence budget to US $209 billion, that’s three times India’s defence allocation. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the 6.8 per cent hike compared to last year at the ongoing session of National People’s Congress (NPC)—China’s parliament.

In his report listing the country’s achievements in 2020 and targets for this year, Li described last year as a “major success” for the armed forces. There was no mention of the mobilization of troops for the standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. “Our people”s forces, with complete competence and fine conduct, safeguarded China”s national security and participated in epidemic control,” the report said.

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The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has announced a 40 per cent increase in salaries to draw talent. The idea is to convert it into a world class force by 2027, the centenary year of the PLA.

A spokesperson for the NPC told reporters that China’s efforts to strengthen the national defence do not target or threaten any country. China is committed to the path of peaceful development and adheres to a defence policy that is defensive in nature, he added. Beat that!