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'China to develop all round strategic partnership with India'

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BEIJING (PTI): Allaying concern over the massive rise of its defence budget, China has said it is "firm" to develop "all round strategic partnership" with India, as its media asserted that Beijing will increase military spending taking it close to that of the US.

"We pay attention to developing good neighbourly and all round strategic partnership with India. We are firm in this regard," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters on Thursday.

Qin was replying to question about concern in India over China's USD 132 billion defence budget for 2014, a 12.2 per cent rise from last year.

"The signal we have sent to our friendly neighbour India is peace and win-win cooperation," he said.

Qin said China appreciated India's condemnation of the knife attacks by militants at Kunming railway station in which 33 people, including four attackers, were killed.

"India has conveyed its condolence through diplomatic channels and we appreciate that," he said, adding China also expressed sympathy when Mumbai terror took place in 2008.

"We would like to enhance cooperation with the region and world at large to combat terrorism," he said.

Hailing the double digit increase of China's defence budget, Chinese official media said the aim should be to come close to US defence budget which is well over USD 600 billion.

"China will not stop increasing its military spending. It is believed the best scale for it in the long run is keeping it at half or two-thirds of that of the US," state-run Global Times said in its editorial.

About neighbours it said, "China's annual defence budget has exceeded neighbouring countries. But China is playing a globally strategic role. There is no comparison between China and small countries who cannot be the benchmark for China's defence budget."

"China has territorial disputes with other countries externally and faces separatism on its border regions. The strategic plot behind the possible manipulation of outside forces on these issues often makes us feel uneasy," it said.

In its editorial, another official newspaper the China Daily said the current increase is both imperative and legitimate, because China now has broader interests to defend.

"Outsider worries about Chinese military spending are also redundant because this country remains faithful to its strategy of self-defence. Some Western narratives about the disputes in the East and South China seas are unfair in that they put China in a bully's role. Which is completely against the truth," it said.

"As long as we do not interfere in others' domestic affairs, as long as we do not covet others' territories, as long as we commit our military capabilities to safeguarding peace, as long as we can afford it, we have the right to spend as much as necessary," it said.

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China  India  Defence  Budget  
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