12:05 GMT +320 November 2019
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    Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army march with their weapons.

    Is an India-China Arms Race Brewing in Asia?

    © REUTERS / Damir Sagolj
    Asia & Pacific
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    India-China rivalry is not only arms race between the two warring nations but it has started an arms race in the Asian continent which has become a cause of security concern.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The geo-political situation in Asia in which China and India have emerged as the main competitors is fostering an arms race in the region.

    Both countries have increased their military spending considerably. According to defense consultancy Jane's report, China's annual defense budget is $ 146 billion. It is expected to rise five per cent annually to cross $ 233 billion by 2020. China is also a major arms exporter to several Asian nations. In fact, it has emerged as the world's third biggest arms supplier. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Pakistan consumes around 35 percent of China's arms supplies while Bangladesh consumes 20 percent. Therefore, increased Chinese military spending and export of arms has fuelled arms race in the Asian region.

    In fact, several Asian countries are on a modernization spree and arming their nations with modern and sophisticated weapons to keep pace with the changing security needs. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Vietnam has increased its military spending by 7.6 per cent, Philippines by 25 per cent and Indonesia by 16 per cent.

    India wants to become a strong power in the region not only to counter China but also to increase its sphere of influence in the region. India is rapidly arming its defense forces. Recently, the government cleared several projects which include the purchase of Rafel fighter jets, warships, combat jets, Russian T-90 tanks, missiles and combat helicopters.

    India's defense preparedness is mainly aimed at defending any aggression from China and Pakistan. Increasing Chinese military presence in eastern Indian Ocean and India's presence in South China Sea through commercial ventures with Vietnam has also increased the arms race in the region.

    Indian Navy's warship Rajput.
    © AP Photo / Biswaranjan Rout
    India's annual defense budget is only $51 billion. But the present government is on a modernization spree and will considerably increase military spending in the coming years.

    India is modernizing its military as most of its armaments are obsolete and needs cutting edge technology. It is also short in numbers required to mount a credible deterrence.

    According to Jane's report, the combined defense budget in Asia-Pacific region is likely to become $533 billion by 2020 as per the current spurt in military spending of the various countries in the region.

    Due to the increased maritime threat several Asian countries like Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Pakistan, China and India are either building or buying submarines.

    "Asia is becoming the hub of economic activity. Each country in the region is trying to increase its sphere of influence. The aggressive strategy to safeguard its interests in both land and sea by China and India has led to other countries arming themselves. In fact, the arms race in the Asian region is likely to further aggravate as various South East Asian nations are also increasing their sphere of influence and arming to safeguard their interests," Commodore (Rtd) and leading security and strategic expert, Uday Bhaskar told Sputnik.

     

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