East-West military gap rapidly shrinking-report
* Think-tank sees "global redistribution of military power"
* State-on-state conflict could rise in Asia
* China could match US military power in 10-15 years
By Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent
LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - Western cuts and swiftly rising defence spending in emerging economies are redrawing the global strategic map, a leading think-tank said on Tuesday, with the danger of conflicts between states also rising.
In its annual Global Military Balance report, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said the shift in economic power was already beginning to have a real military effect and closing any strategic gap.
"Western states' defence budgets are under pressure and their military procurement is constrained," said IISS director general John Chipman. "But in other regions -- notably Asia and the Middle East -- military spending and arms acquisitions are booming. There is persuasive evidence that a global redistribution of military power is under way."
Asian Pacific nations particularly China were increasing defence spending by double digits annually, he said, with growing evidence Western states were losing their technological edge in areas such as stealth technology and cyber warfare. [ID:nnLDE71F2EJ] Continued...