India 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.
President Trump notified the Congress his intent to terminate trade benefits for both India and Turkey under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) eligibility criteria.
India and GSP
- About 2,000 products, including auto components and textiles, can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing country meet the eligibility criteria.
- India was the largest beneficiary of the GSP programme in 2017 with $5.7 billion in imports to the US given duty-free status.
Why the US is planning to withdraw GSP for India?
- President Trump has accused India of failing to ensure the US of “equitable and reasonable” access to its markets. The US is pressing India to reduce US trade deficits and has repeatedly called out India for high tariffs.
- Withdrawal of GSP is part of the President Trumps plan to redress what it considers to be unfair trading relationships.
India has sought talks with the US to avoid the withdrawal of the trade benefits under the GSP. India has offered a trade package to the US which promises of about Rs 35,000 crore annually in oil and gas imports from the US and another Rs 1,00,000 lakh crore in defence orders in the coming years.