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March 5, 2024

China Boosts Defence Budget by 7.2%, India Braces for Impact as Naval Commanders Convene

China’s decision to increase its annual defence budget by 7.2% for the third consecutive year poses significant challenges for its adversaries, notably India. The surge in Chinese military expenditure, despite economic slowdowns, signals a looming shift in geopolitical dynamics, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.

With China’s defence budget surpassing seven per cent annually, concerns rise over its ambitious military modernization plans, including enhancing nuclear and conventional forces and expanding maritime capabilities. As the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gears up for its centenary milestone in 2027, experts anticipate heightened assertiveness, particularly regarding Taiwan’s integration and dominance in the Indo-Pacific.

Amidst India’s ongoing border standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in East Ladakh, the PLA’s focus on maritime dominance poses additional challenges. The PLA Navy’s rapid expansion, coupled with strategic partnerships like supplying submarines to Pakistan, underscores the urgency for India to bolster its naval capabilities.

As top Indian naval commanders convene aboard INS Vikramaditya carrier off the coast of Goa, discussions center on countering the PLA Navy’s maritime threats and safeguarding India’s extensive coastline. The evolving security landscape necessitates swift decisions on bolstering naval capabilities, potentially including the construction of advanced aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines.

India’s strategic autonomy, coupled with its non-alignment policy, underscores the importance of enhancing indigenous defence capabilities. With no formal military alliances like AUKUS in the Indo-Pacific, India faces the imperative of self-reliance in confronting China’s growing assertiveness.

In light of China’s aggressive posture, the Indian Navy confronts critical decisions regarding the expansion and modernization of its fleet. The urgency to address gaps in naval capacity becomes paramount as India navigates the evolving maritime security paradigm.

In the face of looming challenges, India’s defence planners must expedite decision-making processes to ensure timely responses to emerging threats. With the lifespan of INS Vikramaditya nearing its end, the imperative for swift action on naval modernization becomes increasingly urgent, reflecting the pressing need to safeguard India’s strategic interests amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics.

Rajan Shukla

Rajan Shukla

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