Asian countries are expected to invest about $60bn to strengthen their navies in the next five years, according to a report done by Agence France-Presse

Speaking with the news service, US-based naval consultancy firm AMI International’s vice president Bob Nugent said China, Japan and South Korea especially are moving from patrolling local waters to increasing capabilities to operate in international waters, protect offshore oil rigs and expand search for more energy, driving investment.

Other Asian nations such as Australia and Singapore have planned significant naval programmes while India is planning substantial investments to modernise its navy.

And while some navies are increasing their budget, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are expected to maintain their naval investments in the next five years.

The most popular procurements for Asia will be submarines, frigates and aviation-capable amphibious ships to build up the underwater, surface and aerial capabilities, according to Nugent.

In comparison, the US will spend just above the $60bn and the non-Nato European countries are expected to spend about $11bn until 2014 on new naval capabilities.