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Defence from The Enemy Within
Is China’s Rising defence Expenditure a Sign of Internal Strife?
Chinese journalists may have little to cover in their media unfriendly nation, but China itself can never complain of a lack of publicity beyond its borders!
The country recently grabbed ample media space for its military expenditure. In its annual budget for the year 2011-12, it has increased its military expenditure substantially by around 12.7% to 601 billion yuan ($91.5 billion). Interestingly, India increased its defence spending by 12% as well this year to $36.53 billion. But the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that it had exceeded the $100 billion mark in 2009 itself. Moreover, it has promised a 40% salary hike for its military.
As per officials, the defence budget accounts for just 6% of China’s national budget and less than 2% of its GDP. It is about 25% of America’s estimated military expenditure of around $553 billion for 2012. It is claimed that most of this expenditure will be towards the upgradation of defence equipments. But a number of other possible objectives come to mind, ranging from achieving parity with US in the long run, to maintaining a hegemony in its periphery. Understandably, its Asian counterparts are particularly concerned.
China rubbishes these allegations, claims total transparency and says that it has numerous challenges as a growing economic power. What it will refuse to admit is that it is also threatened by rising protests at home in line with the Jasmine revolution witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya. Some analyses of military deployments do indicate a surge in trouble prone areas like Tibet. If these are ominous signs of an impending revolution, or a series of them, the real concerns for the military could be well within the Chinese borders.
By:- Akram Hoque
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