With China rapidly modernising its armed forces and asserting itself in the region, India on Monday said it was taking measures to sharpen its military edge.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony said there had been an “increasing assertiveness” on China’s part and India was taking steps to upgrade its capabilities.
Addressing top military commanders, including the three service chiefs, at the annual Combined Commanders’ Conference, he said, “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. In fact, there has been an increasing assertiveness on the part of China.”
Antony’s comments come in the wake of reports of Chinese presence in PoK and Northern Army commander Lieutenant General B.S. Jaswal being denied a visa because he was responsible for Jammu and Kashmir, a state that China regards as disputed.
But Antony made it clear that India had never linked its military capabilities to counter any particular nation. He said India had to keep up with military modernisation in its neighbourhood “to ensure that our nation continues to hold the edge.”
The minister said India and China had equal stake in maintaining peace as two of the largest nations in the region.
Antony said events in recent months indicated that the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir continued unabated.
“Our geopolitical situation and compulsions of history and geography pose challenges that are unique .... At the forefront of these challenging situations are those emanating from neighbours who continue to dwell in the past and are keen to foment threats to our national security,” he said.