Brunei Current Affairs - 2019
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China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per to $177.61 billion up from last year’s $165 billion. The 2019 Defence Budget of China stood at 1.19 trillion yuan (about $177.61 billion) which is three times the Indian Defence Budget.
China’s Defence Budget
- China’s Defence Budget growth rate stood at 7.6 per cent in 2016, 7 per cent in 2017 and 8.1 per cent in 2018.
- China’s defence spending at $177.61 billion makes it the highest spender on defence after the United States.
- China is equipping its People’s Liberation Army with state-of-the-art hardware, spending heavily on stealth warplanes, aircraft carriers and other weaponry.
- The Chinese government has stated that the increased spending will “strengthen military training under combat conditions, and firmly protect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
- China has also resorted to major reforms of its military, which included giving priority to expanding its navy and air force to enhance its influence abroad.
Increases Budget a Cause of Worry?
China is demonstrating a more posture towards Taipei and China is facing competing claims in the South China Sea from Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan together with a territorial dispute with historic rival Japan in the East China Sea. Hence increased Defence Budget of China may be a precursor to a more aggressive stance against its neighbours.
China has termed the increase in the defence budget as reasonable and appropriate aimed at meeting the country’s demand in safeguarding national security and military reform with Chinese characteristics. China also argues that China’s defence budget at 1.3 per cent of the GDP is much less than major developing countries which spend two per cent GDP on their defence.
China also states that whether a country is a military threat to others or not is not determined by its increase in defence expenditure, but by the foreign and national defence policies it adopts.
India inked a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in services and investments with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), paving the mode for a more relaxed movement of professionals and additionally opening prospects for investments between India and ASEAN.
India implemented FTA in goods with 10-member ASEAN in 2011. 9 out of 10 ASEAN nations have inked the agreement. Philippines , now the only ASEAN country yet to sign the pact, is finalizing its domestic process and is probable to sign soon.
All ASEAN members — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — are likely to get the contract approved by their Parliaments after which it will be formally adopted during the next India–ASEAN summit later this year.
The trade in services agreement contains all characteristics of a contemporary and all-inclusive pact and is in line with the other bilateral agreements that India has inked so far.
Few vital Articles encompassed in the agreement are ones on transparency, domestic regulations, recognition, market access, national treatment, increasing participation of developing countries, joint committee on services, review, dispute settlement and denial of benefits, etc.