Brazil Boosts Military Spending by 50% But Tells Neighbors Not to Worry

Brazil's fighter plane Tomcafé The Brazilian government has announced plans to boost Brazil's military spending by more than 50% in 2008, to around an estimated US$ 5.4 billion and draw up a new defense plan, but told its neighbors they should not worry.

"Brazil has well established, peaceful relations with all South American nations … one of our political priorities is economic and structural integration of the region … (and in 2008) we'll also be strengthening our military links," Brazilian Defense Minister, Nelson Jobim, said in a public speech.

Brazil, he added, cannot "neglect its defense. Therefore, we will increase our budget outlays and investment in the army, navy and air force by more than 50%".

He also said Brazil "is elaborating a national strategy defense plan that will determine each military branch's mission and the equipment it needs for its activities".

Mr Jobin said the military equipment envisioned in the plan includes new fighter jets.

Brazil in 2002 mothballed military programs to buy 12 fighter jets worth around US$ 4 billion and build a nuclear submarine over 10 years for a total cost of US$ 1.3 billion. These programs could be re-launched in 2008.

According to official figures made public this week, Brazil has requested in its 2008 budget proposal to Congress some US$ 5 billion for its military forces, with the possibility of raising it to US$ 5.64 billion. Brazil's 2007 military budget was around US$ 3.5 billion.

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