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'Assertive' China worrisome for India: Indian Defence minister

September 16, 2010

Phayul
September 15, 2010

Dharamsala, Sep. 15 -– The Indian defence
minister A K Antony has said China’s increasingly
assertive position is worrisome. Antony was
speaking at the annual combined commanders'
conference on Monday in the Indian capital. The
conference was attended by PM Manmohan Singh,
finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister
P Chidambaram and national security adviser Shivshankar Menon, among others.

The top military brass, in turn, asked the
political leadership to factor China's
ever-expanding transborder, cyber and
space-warfare military capabilities into India's national security matrix.

Even as the military brass warned that China
posed "serious challenges," it said the political
establishment should come up with clear-cut
national security objectives, which would bring
the joint military strategy to meet any external threat.

China's massive build-up of military
infrastructure along the 4,057-km Line of Actual
Control, its strategic moves in Indian Ocean
Region (IOR) and rapid modernisation of the
People's Liberation Army were red-flagged as
worrisome during the conference. This comes in
the backdrop of the increasing Chinese footprint
in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, both in terms of
projects as well as personnel, according to a report by Times of India.

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said
India needed to develop border infrastructure,
for both land and sea, with "a sense of urgency"
because it was "an integral part" of the country's defence preparedness.

"We want to develop friendly relations with
China... However, we cannot lose sight of the
fact that China has been improving its military
and physical infrastructure," defence minister said.

"In fact, there has been an increasing
assertiveness on the part of China. We are taking
all necessary steps to upgrade our capabilities.
We have never linked our capabilities to counter
any particular nation," he added.

All the three Service chiefs, Air Chief Marshal P
V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V K
Singh, were of the opinion that China front posed
"a long-term threat" rather than Pakistan.

The Indian Air Force had begun to base the
Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets in the North-East as
well as upgrade several airstrips and helipads in
the region. The Indian Army is raising two new
specialised infantry mountain divisions
consisting of 35,000 troops and an artillery
brigade for Arunachal Pradesh, while the Indian
Navy is trying to counter the increasing Chinese
presence in Indian Ocean Region. India also plans
to test its most ambitious ballistic missile, the
5,000-km Agni-V, by early 2011 to bolster its deterrence posture against China.

Both Manmohan Singh and Antony underlined the
ongoing endeavour to modernise the Indian armed
forces to tackle all exigencies. "When it comes
to defence capability, we must be ahead of the technology curve," said the PM.
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