China ten­sions fuel ac­cel­er­a­tion in mil­i­tary spend­ing in Asia

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

BEI­JING: China's mil­i­tary growth com­bined with height­ened ter­ri­to­rial ten­sions is likely to pro­pel the Asia Pa­cific re­gion to the top rank of mil­i­tary spend­ing by the end of the decade, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by IHS Jane's. The Asia Pa­cific will ac­count for one in three dol­lars spent on de­fense by the early 2020s, up from one in five in 2010, ac­cord­ing to the Lon­don-based mil­i­tary pub­lisher. While the U.S. re­mains the globe's big­gest pur­veyor of weapons, China led growth in ma­jor arms ex­ports in the 2011-2015 pe­riod, with weapons sales ris­ing 88 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous five-year span, an­other re­port from the Stock­holm In­ter­na­tional Peace Re­search In­sti­tute showed. "Ris­ing ten­sions in APAC have seen a long over­due process of mil­i­tary mod­ern­iza­tion move up the political agenda in a num­ber of coun­tries," Craig Caf­frey, prin­ci­pal an­a­lyst at IHS Jane's wrote in the re­port. "The Philip­pines, In­done­sia, Ja­pan and Viet­nam are all fol­low­ing China's lead and we see no sign of this trend com­ing to an end." By 2020, to­tal mil­i­tary spend­ing in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion is ex­pected to reach $533 bil­lion a year from $435 bil­lion in 2015, IHS Jane's said. In 2015, nine of the 20 fastest-grow­ing de­fense bud­gets were found in the Asia Pa­cific, up from seven a year ear­lier. In con­trast, the num­ber of Middle East-North Africa na­tions top­ping the list fell to five from seven. China is ben­e­fit­ing from that in­creased de­fense spend­ing. China's share of global arms ex­ports ac­counted for 5.9 per­cent in 2011-2015, up from 3.6 per­cent in 2006 to 2010, Sipri said.

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