China hikes defence budget to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India

Beijing, May 22 (PTI) China, the second-largest military spender after the US, has hiked its defence budget from last year”s 177.6 billion to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India, the lowest increment in recent years apparently due to the heavy disruption caused to its economy by the COVID-19, according to the official media.

China, which has the world”s largest military of two million troops, will continue to lower its defence budget growth rate to 6.6 per cent in 2020, according to a draft budget report presented on Friday to National People”s Congress (NPC), the country”s top legislature.

The 2020 defence budget continues to see single-digit growth for a fifth consecutive year. It is the lowest growth rate in recent years, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China”s this year”s defence budget will be around 1.27 trillion yuan (about USD 179 billion) against last year”s 177.61 billion, according to the draft submitted to the NPC.

China”s total defence spending in 2019 only amounted to a quarter that of the United States, the world”s largest defence spender, while the per capita expenditure was just about one-seventeenth, the report said.

On Thursday Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the NPC in a media briefing played down criticism about lack of transparency in China”s defence expenditure which defence analysts say considering the rapid expansion of Beijing”s military and modern weapons is far higher than what is announced.

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