Tuesday, October 16, 2012

China leads rise in Asia military spending: Study

China in the past decade has outpaced four major military powers in Asia - Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan - in terms of defence spending as its defence budget quadrupled since 2000, an American think tank has said.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, in a report said that the defence spending of these five countries have doubled in the last 10 years.

In 2011, these countries - China, Japan, India, Taiwan and S Korea -- collectively spent an approximate USD 224 billion on defence.

Until 2005, Japan had the largest defence budget in Asia. Since 2005, China has been the biggest spender on defence, having previously replaced India as the second-biggest spender in 2001.

"This comparatively rapid expansion in defence spending is also illustrated by China's share of the group's combined defence spending, which more than doubled from 19.9 per cent in 2000 to 40.2 per cent in 2011," the report said.

The defence spending during the first half of the decade (2000-2005) increased at a slower rate-even contracted in the case of Taiwan-than in the second half (2005-2011) for all countries except South Korea, the report said.

In comparison, aggregate spending in the United States and Europe reflected a different trend. Specifically, total defence spending in the United States grew by twice as much during 2000 to 2005 (7.2 per cent CAGR) as it did between 2005 and 2011 (3.6 per cent CAGR).

In Europe, total defence spending declined from 2001 to 2005 at a CAGR of -1.4 per cent, and declined at an even faster rate (-2.5 per cent CAGR) between 2006 and 2011, it added.

According to the report, the defence outlook for South Korea and India will also continue to be largely shaped by their strained relations with North Korea and Pakistan, respectively.

Notable economic factors include the availability of financial resources and the overall economic climate.

Three of the five countries assessed in this report -China, India, and Japan- ranked in the global top ten defence spenders in 2011, it said.