China's increased defence outlay more about modernising military than 'India threat'

Besides approving the defence budget National People’s Congress deputies are also expected to appoint Xi to a second term as president and repeal constitutional term limits requiring him to step down in 2023

The 8.1% increase is higher than last year's announcement, when China upped military spending by 7% over the previous year.

The name of Xi and his thought figured numerous times in the annual work report read out Premier Li Keqiang on Monday at the opening session of the NPC, which observers said conferred to Xi the status and authority which was enjoyed by Mao during the heydays of China's revolution which brought CPC to power in 1949. China has also projected its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate at 6.5 percent for 2018, unchanged from the last year's target, although it obtained the growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2017.

The increased spending, announced in a budget report, is seen as a good indication of China's strategic ambitions, as it continues to modernise its army - the world's largest - and develop its infrastructure in contested areas like the South China Sea and its Himalayan border regions.

"The government's bottom line for economic growth is likely to be 6.3 percent", said Tom Rafferty of the Economist Intelligence Unit in a report.

Still, the augmented fiscal deficit, which includes local government financing vehicles and other off-balance-sheet activities, will remain expansionary at about 10% of GDP this year, estimates Liu Li-gang, chief China economist at Citigroup in Hong Kong.

The report said that China's economics and financial risks were "on the whole manageable".

"Military equipment has been significantly modernised, and China has deepened military-civilian integration". That was four times less than the United States, spending 603 billion Dollars, but more than Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, respectively, spending 77 billion Dollars and 61 billion Dollars, according to data from the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

On the military front, Premier Li said China has reduced the armed forces by 300,000 troops. "It is increasingly clear that China and Russian Federation want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model - gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions".

"The constitution, which reflects the common will of the Communist Party of China and Chinese people, is China's fundamental law and the general chapter for governing the country well and ensuring national security", Zhang said. This was a promise President Xi made during a major military parade in 2015. "In some projects, the Chinese have committed to funding the projects by as much as with 85 per cent through soft loans that span 20 years", Buhari said last January.

'We will focus our advice and efforts on the main issues in securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarking on a journey to fully build a modern socialist China, Yu said.

"Compared with other major powers in the world, China's national defense budget is still small either in terms of its proportion to GDP or the per capita amount of the whole population or of all soldiers", said Chen Zhou.

He also applauded when the Premier vowed to build China into a leader in manufacturing by striving to meet the highest global standards in all products, encourage the spirit of workmanship, and ignite a revolution in the quality of Chinese-made goods.

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