According to the government, now the focus will be on strengthening combat preparedness through military training. Looking at India’s situation in this context, not only does one-third of the fixed expenditure on defense sit here, but a large part of that expenditure also goes into items like salaries. According to statistics, 60 percent of the budget in India is spent on employees, while in China this expenditure is only 30 percent of the total defense budget. Obviously, the quantum of expenditure on the modernization program increases there further. But the real question is, what message does China want to send by increasing spending on defense? Does this mean that its aggression is going to increase on issues related to Taiwan and Hong Kong, in the South China Sea and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India? Especially on the LAC in Ladakh, where a large number of soldiers are deployed on both sides for the last two years and even after 14 rounds of talks, there is no sign of reduction in tension, what kind of change is going to happen in its attitude? The answer to this question lies in the womb of time, but it is to be hoped that the long-term agenda of defense preparedness will not come in the way of reaching a consensus on these sensitive issues.
In such a situation, when the war between Russia and Ukraine remains a cause of concern for the whole world, the unexpected increase in China’s defense budget has naturally caught everyone’s attention. On Saturday, the Chinese Finance Ministry announced a 7.1 percent increase in defense spending in the country, which means that in the year 2022, $ 230.16 billion will be spent on defense in China. This amount is three times more than the expenditure on defense in India during 2022-23. However, the increase in spending on defense is not a new thing for China. This is the seventh consecutive year that the country’s defense budget has been increased. But this time the special thing is that this increase has been proposed amidst the slowing pace of the growth rate. For the year 2022, GDP growth is estimated at 5.5 percent, which is the lowest in the last three decades. Obviously, an increase of 7.1 percent in defense spending against 5.5 percent GDP growth can be considered a clear indication of the priorities of the Chinese government. This increase comes at a time when the modernization program of the Chinese army is already going on in full swing. Under this, submarines, aircraft carriers, etc. are being built on a large scale.