China boosts defence spending by 7.2%, India braces for impact

China’s defence spending has grown by more than seven per cent for the third consecutive year, despite its slowing economy and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

| Updated: 05 March, 2024 2:23 pm IST

NEW DELHI : China announced on Tuesday that it will increase its defence budget by 7.2% to $232 billion, continuing its massive military modernisation amid rising tensions with India, Taiwan, and the US.

The defence budget, which is three times that of India’s, is expected to enhance China’s capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region, where it faces challenges from the US-led QUAD alliance and other partners.

China’s defence spending has grown by more than seven per cent for the third consecutive year, despite its slowing economy and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Analysts say that China’s military ambitions are driven by President Xi Jinping’s vision of making the country a global power by 2049, the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

One of the key goals of China’s military strategy is to reunify Taiwan with the mainland by force, if necessary, by 2027, the centenary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The PLA is also involved in a four-year standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, where both sides have deployed thousands of troops and heavy weaponry.

China is also expanding its naval presence in the Indian Ocean, where it has built ports and bases in countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Djibouti.

China’s growing assertiveness in the maritime domain has alarmed India, which considers the Indian Ocean as its sphere of influence.

India has been strengthening its naval capabilities and forging partnerships with countries like the US, Australia, Japan, France, and Indonesia to counter China’s influence.

However, India is not part of any formal military alliance like the AUKUS pact between the US, the UK, and Australia, which aims to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia to deter China.

India also faces the challenge of balancing its relations with Russia, its traditional defence partner, and the US, its strategic ally, amid their rivalry.

As China continues to ramp up its defence spending and modernisation, India will have to make tough choices and investments to secure its interests and sovereignty in the region.

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