China has hiked its military spending by seven per cent to $152 billion, about three times higher than that of India, as Beijing braced for countering America's push into the disputed South China Sea.
After skipping the customary mention of the figures of defence spending in the work report submitted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to lawmakers on March 5, state-run Xinhua news agency on March 6 announced that the military budget for this year stands at 1.04 trillion yuan ($152 billion).
China's defence budget for 2017 will grow seven per cent from the actual figure in 2016, Xinhua quoted an official with Ministry of Finance as saying on March 6.
"The country's military spending this year will stand at 1.04 trillion yuan (about $152 billion) with 1.02 trillion yuan from the central budget," the Xinhua report said.
This is the first time that China's military spending crossed a trillion yuan.
Last year China's military spending was 954.35 billion yuan, a 7.6 per cent increase from 2015.
China's defence budget is about three times higher than India's USD 53.5 billion.