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Defence spending in Asia largely unaffected by Covid-19, says Janes

The trusted global agency for open-source defence intelligence highlights that of the 11 budgets published in Asia since the onset of the pandemic, only 3 are showing spending decreases

SINGAPORE – The latest budget analysis from Janes highlights the minimal impact that the pandemic has had on defence spending in the Asia-Pacific region, with only 3 of 11 budgets published since May showing a decrease in spending

“China’s 2020 budget was the first major indication that defence spending in Asia might remain relatively unaffected by Covid-19, with a real 6.3% increase in military funding announced. Taking inflation into account, this is the largest increase in China’s defence allocation since 2015,” said Andrew MacDonald, Principal Analyst at Janes. “Others – including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan – have announced draft budgets for 2021 that feature new accelerations of growth in funding for the armed forces. In Japan’s case, this represents the largest expansion in defence spending since the early 1990s.”

“While funding is scheduled to fall in Australia next year, that is driven by a large reduction in pensions costs, masking the fact that the country’s core defence budget is likely to grow by 9.6% in real terms; faster growth than in any budget since 2014’s,” MacDonald added. 

Janes data highlights that this trend extends into South-East Asia, where Thailand and the Philippines have announced plans for a marked uptick in budget growth, and Indonesia aims to maintain expansion at a rate only slightly below that of 2020. 

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