China's defence budget has surged ahead of the $100 billion-mark within a year of having crossed it for the first time.
China on Tuesday announced that its military budget allocation for 2013-14 had been increased by 10.7% - it now stands over 720 billion Yuan or more than $115 billion.
Interestingly, the defence budget had crossed its 2012-13 or last year's allocation by over 11.6% within the last 12 months.
China's defence budget is now more than three times India's defence allocation, which last week was increased by about 5% to $37 billion (or Rs. 2 lakh crore).
The reason for the increase in the budget given in an official report released Tuesday was short, "Funds will be used to support efforts to improve the working and living conditions of officers and enlisted personnel, make the armed forces more mechanized and information-based, and safeguard national security."
But it's not exactly a secret that China is pushing ahead with new ambitious military projects amid rising tension in the South China Sea and East China Sea regions with several of its much smaller neighbours.
China has already launched its first aircraft carrier last year as well as several versions of new fighter jets perceived to be for bracing against an US military push into Asia Pacific. At least three different stealth aircraft - J15, J20 and J31 - are being developed as part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force's plan to make fifth generation aircraft. Also under development is Y-20 transport aircraft, said to be an improvement on the Russian IL-76 aircraft.
A stealth frigate project is also underway.
The PLA's Second Artillery Corp, responsible for the country's strategic missiles, is also developing the DF-21, which will have the ability to destroy aircraft carriers.
China also successfully tested the second ground-based mid-course missile interceptor in January.
A senior diplomat said on Monday that it was important for China to become a maritime power as its defensive military policies had been at the core of a peaceful Asia.
The announcement about the substantial hike in defence budget came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that a Ground Self-Defense Force unit will be posted in Yonaguni Island, Okinawa Pref. to monitor China's naval activities.
China's new defence budget - the first for the new leadership that will take over this month completing a once-in-ten year transition that began in November - is expected to be approved by the National People's Congress (NPC) or Parliament, which opened its annual session on Tuesday morning.
China's defence budget is now more than three times India's defence allocation, which was, last week, increased by a less than expected 5% to $37 billion (or Rs 2 lakh crore).