May 2 (UPI) — India has been increasing military spending, and the cause is China, according to experts at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Researchers said in a report released Wednesday that despite a recent diplomatic charm offensive China and India are not scaling back on military reinforcements at their border, the South China Morning Post reported.
“The Indian government plans to expand, modernize and enhance the operational capability of its armed forces, motivated at least partially by tensions with China and Pakistan,” the report read.
SIPRI said India’s defense spending increased 5.5 percent in 2017, to $63.9 billion.
“Tensions between China and many of its neighbors continue to drive the growth in military spending in Asia,” said senior SIPRI researcher Siemon Wezeman.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met more than once, and most recently last weekend, in China.
The meeting was warm and cordial, but U.S. geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor has revealed as recently as January the two countries were strengthening defense near their border.
China’s defense spending lags behind the United States, however.
The United States spent $610 billion in 2017 on the military, while China paid out $228 billion to keep up its forces.
China has also been experiencing increased friction with Taiwan and has challenged opponents in Taipei who seek sovereignty and are against Beijing’s One-China Policy.
The policy may have been used to motivate the Dominican Republic to sever ties with Taiwan on Tuesday, in return for the establishment of diplomatic ties with Beijing.
China’s foreign ministry said Wednesday the decision from the Caribbean nation is in full compliance with international law, Xinhua reported.
“We believe that the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Dominican Republic will certainly open up broad prospects for friendly cooperation between the two countries in various fields,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
The decision from China comes after the U.S. Air Force flew two B-52 bombers near the Chinese coast, a possible response to Chinese military drills held near Taiwan.