China to raise its defence budget by 17.6 percent

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New Delhi, Mar. 4 : China plans to increase its defence budget by 17.6 percent in 2008, or to 417.769 billion yuan, a rise of 62.379 billion yuan from the actual military spending last year, Jiang Enzhu, a spokesman for the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), told reporters in Beijing on Monday.

The budget increase is equivalent to 57.229 billion U.S. dollars if converted at the exchange rate by the end of last year, Jiang said.

"The ratio it takes against this year's total fiscal expenditures is slightly lower than those of previous years," he said.

Jiang explained that the defence budget was being raised to further increase benefits for military personnel and offset the impact of price hikes to allow more input in oil purchase.

More money will be spent on education and training in army, he said.

ANI

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