China defence budget raised by 7.2%, 3 times India’s, one-third of America
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Sunday announced the draft of its defense budget for 2023, which marks a 7.2 per cent increase over the 2022 budget. Beijing-based analysts called it a “reasonable, moderate increase”.
China’s actual defense spending will rise to 1.55 trillion yuan ($225 billion) during the year to the 2023 budget, which amounts to the eighth consecutive year of single-digit budget increases.
The PRC’s defense spending is set to increase by 6.6 percent in 2020, 6.8 percent in 2021, and 7.1 percent in 2022.
The proposed defense budget was announced in the draft budget report released on Sunday at the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature.
The PRC aims to achieve the centenary objectives of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by August 1, 2027.
China has set a target of 2035 for the modernization of its national defense and armed forces.
On August 1, 2022, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, Xinhua news agency reported that by the middle of the 21st century, China plans to make its military a world-class force.
Analysts say the defense allocations are in line with China’s military modernization road map, rising security threats and adapted COVID-19 policies.
China has gradually increased its defense expenditure over the years in tandem with the country’s economic development.
Its national defense modernization mainly includes development and procurement of new weapons and equipment, maintaining a high level of realistic war-oriented exercises and better welfare for military personnel, an expert observed.
Several global and regional powers around the world have increased military spending in 2023, partly as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The US tops the list with a military budget of $817 billion for the Pentagon, which is more than 3 times that of China.
Japan plans to spend $51 billion on defense, a 26.3 percent increase over last year’s spending.
India is increasing its capital expenditure to $21 billion and total defense expenditure by 13 per cent to $72.5 billion. This accounts for 13.2 percent of all government spending, or 1.97 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP).
According to media reports, other countries like UK, France, Germany and Australia are also looking to boost defense spending.
In 2023, the PLA Air Force is expected to induct more advanced warplanes, including Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter jets and Shenyang J-16 multirole fighter jets, to replace the aging Chengdu J-7 fighter jets that have been decommissioned. being done.
The PLA Navy is about to begin sea trials for the country’s third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, equipped with an electromagnetic catapult. It is also expected to conduct more realistic battle-oriented exercises which consume large amounts of costly live ammunition and fuel.
For the PRC, defense modernization has become an important issue because of what Beijing sees as a deteriorating global security situation. In addition to the Russia–Ukraine conflict and China’s support of the losing side, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, visited the island of Taiwan, prompting Beijing to conduct a series of large-scale military exercises around Taiwan.
The US and its allies, including Japan, are exaggerating the Taiwan question. US forces are conducting reconnaissance near China’s coastline and transiting through the South China Sea on “freedom of navigation patrols”.
In 2022, Japan breaks with its post-World War II principle of having only defensive forces and weapons. Tokyo has begun purchasing offensive missiles, including US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, which China sees as a threat.
Nevertheless, there are apprehensions among China’s smaller Indo-Pacific neighbors over China’s aggressive posture and steady military build-up coupled with its GDP growth.
For 2023, China has set its GDP growth target of around 5 percent. For Beijing’s neighbors, that translates into ever-increasing territorial ambitions and a growing military arsenal.