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China dismisses reports of hiding defence budget

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Chinese army. A file photo

BEIJING (PTI): China has dismissed reports that it is hiding expenditure on defence and claimed that its per capita defence budget was lowest among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

China publishes the national defence white paper every two years, which is more detailed in military expenditure than many other countries, Jia Yong, a member of the National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), was quoted as saying by the official media here Friday.

While speaking on the sidelines of the sessions of the National Peoples Congress, he said the reports in the foreign media alleging that China had hidden defence budget were merely meant to draw more attention.

On March 5, the Chinese government announced its plans to increase the defence budget by 7.5 per cent in 2010 to 532.

115 billion yuan (about USD 77 billion).

Last year China hiked the defence 14.9 per cent. China said it would focus its military spending this year mainly on modernisation of its military to "win" IT driven "local" wars, increase the ability of the People's Liberation Army to respond to "multiple security threats" and to intensify the R and D to develop new weapons and equipment.

Despite the modest increase this year, China would still continue to be second largest spender on defence, next only to the United States.

It spends twice higher than India. In the recent budget India increased its defence spending by 3.98 per cent this year to USD 32 billion (Rs.1, 47,344 crore).

A number of foreign media reports said official announcement reducing the increase of defence spending actually do not reflect the actual defence budget and actual expenditure could range from of USD 140-150 billion.

Decades of rapid growth made Chinese Peoples Liberation Army to become largest standing army in the world with more than 2.3 million men.

Its Navy has about 255,000 men and its air force about four lakh men and officers.

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