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Thursday, February 4, 2010
China, India boost defence as crisis takes toll on West | Top News | Reuters
"LONDON (Reuters) - China and India sharply raised defence spending in 2009 despite the economic crisis but most European NATO members face a squeeze on defence budgets as they rein in gaping deficits, a report said on Wednesday. The impact of the global financial crisis on defence and security spending varied across regions and countries, the International Institute for Strategic Studies thinktank said in its annual report "The Military Balance". U.S. defence spending almost doubled under former President George W. Bush but President Barack Obama had signalled that the need to tackle a big budget deficit would require "a dramatic reprioritisation within defence spending," it said. Obama asked Congress this week to approve a record $708 billion in defence spending for fiscal 2011 -- including a 3.4 percent increase in the Pentagon's base budget -- but said he would continue his drive to eliminate wasteful programmes. A sharp recession had led the Russian government effectively to abandon a comprehensive military re-equipment plan due to run from 2007-15 and to replace it with a new 10-year plan starting in 2011, the report said. "In contrast to developments in advanced economies, both India and China have maintained their recent trend of double-digit increases in defence spending," it said. India boosted defence spending by 21 percent in 2009 after the 2008 Mumbai attacks killed 166 people, it said."