China announces 7.6-percent defence budget rise

Beijing, March 5: China on Saturday announced the country's lowest defence budget increase in six years in the wake of rising economic headwinds and last year's massive drawdown of service people. According to a budget report to the national legislature annual session, the government plans to raise the 2016 defence budget by 7.6 percent to about $146 billion. The increase last year was 10.1 percent, reports Xinhua. The fresh raise will make the world's second largest economy the second largest defence spender, both next to the US which, in the exact words of US President Barack Obama, spends more on military "than the next eight nations combined". Obama proposed a $534-billion defence budget package for the 2016 fiscal year, about 3.6 times China's budget this year. This year's new increase will do little to close that gap. It would, however, break a multi-year run of double-digit increases in China's defence budget, and mark the slowest growth in six years.