India on Saturday expressed concern at the hike in Chinese military spending, but said it does not perceive Beijing as a threat.

“China has increased their military capabilities and spending more on defence,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said at a Security Forum here. “We are concerned over it.”

Mr. Antony said “even though we don't believe in an arms race, but in our own way, to protect our national interest, we are also strengthening our capabilities on our borders.”

Saying New Delhi favoured stable relations with its neighbour, the Minister said the two countries had begun military-to-military cooperation.

“We had contacts at the Army level, but of late, we have started extending them to the navies of the two nations,” Mr. Antony said at the conference where the developments in the South China Sea were in sharp focus.

Japan too expressed concern over lack of transparency in China's massive defence spending, saying this secrecy posed a threat.

China's military budget jumped over 11 per cent this year to a staggering $106 billion.

Favouring peace and stability in the troubled Middle East Region, Mr. Antony said, “India does not believe in solving the ongoing problems in the Middle East through confrontation or destabilisation.”

On Afghanistan

On Afghanistan, Mr. Antony said India was concerned over the situation after the withdrawal of American troops from there in 2014.

“New Delhi is concerned about the future of Afghanistan especially after 2014. India is helping Kabul to bolster its security apparatus and wishes prosperity and peace to the Afghan people,” Mr. Antony said, adding that all political process there should be inclusive, transparent and anchored by its own people.

On the sidelines of the summit Mr. Antony held talks with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris and Deputy Defence Minister Lt Gen Hguyben Chi Vinh in the forenoon.

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