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China’s Defence Spending Hides More Than It Reveals; Outstrips Combined Expenses of India, Japan

China is many folds ahead of its regional competitors, and it would take a significant jump for the regional actors, including India, to catch up with China

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) annual National People’s Congress (NPC) ended last week. Like every year, the first day of the NPC was dominated by news about China’s defence expenditure. Its national budget projected that China’s defence spending is expected to rise to 1.45 trillion Yuan (US $229.47 billion) in 2022. This marks a 7.1 per cent increase from 2021 spending, which was 1.36 trillion Yuan (US $209.2 billion). The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) defence spending has increased by at least 6.6 per cent every year since the past three decades, and its defence expenditure has increased nearly six-fold in the past two decades. Interestingly, the 2022 budget marks the only time that the budget’s growth rate has increased two years consecutively in the last decade. Currently, China spends more on defence than any other country except the United States (US).


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