Asian Maritime Outgo Surges As Europes Dips

New Delhi, Nov 16: | Updated: Nov 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
Their growing economies are expected to make India, Japan, South Korea, and China the main drivers of the regions increased naval spending, although other countries with smaller budgets will follow the trend.

Governments in the Asia Pacific would spend a combined $ 14 billion on new naval ships in 2009, double the figure for this year, according to the US-based naval experts at AMI International.

According to the report, Asian governments were set to dramatically increase their maritime defence forces with growing economies, regional tensions and terrorism to drive the surge.

The increase will come as Europe cuts its spending on naval ship construction by 20 to 25 per cent. As far as new ship construction is concerned, the Asia Pacific is going to be a more important market than Europe, the report said.

The British-governments Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), which facilitates the sale of British defence products, backed AMI international assessment.

We see the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) and the

Asian markets as enormous for the future, DESO has said.

One of the reasons governments would spend more on naval ships was to counter the threats of pirates, insurgent groups and terrorists roaming across Asian waters.

But, in what is still a region of strong nationalism, instability and distrust, the biggest drivers of growth were traditional military factors amid growing economies.

Largely its for self defence and to feel comfortable that they can respond with whatever happens in the world. Its how much you have to invest to feel secure, the report adds.

Countries will spend approximately two per cent of their gross national product on defence.

So if the gross national product keeps on increasing, there will be more money to invest in defence. Adding, the increased spending on naval ships would not alter the military balance in the region.