China is set to nearly double its military spending this decade as an arms race heats up in Asia.
China’s defense spending will balloon to $233 billion in 2020, up from $123 billion in 2010, according to a new report by IHS Jane’s.
Regional power India is also on a spending spree. This year, $4 billion in additional defense funding pushed it ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia to rank among the top five global spenders for the first time.
Military spending across the Asia-Pacific region has boomed in recent years as regional economies have grown. Rising tensions around the South China Sea could be a catalyst to splash out more cash.
“A key trend in [Asia-Pacific] is the shift from a traditional focus on territorial defense towards power projection,” said Craig Caffrey, a principal analyst at IHS Jane’s. “This is new for the region and is likely to increase military-to-military contact between states.”
China is already the world’s number two spender on defense. But its growth trajectory means that by 2020 it will be spending four times more than the United Kingdom and its budget will top the combined outlays of western European powers.