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China is a threat to India, says MoD report

Ahead of PM's China visit in June, MoD has expressed concern about China's military might and the threat posed to Indian security.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2004 11:28 IST

Ahead of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to China in June, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has expressed grave concern about China's military might, particularly in respect of its nuclear forces, and the threat posed to Indian security.

In its annual report for 2002-03 released on Friday, the MoD pointed out that the asymmetry of nuclear forces is "pronouncedly in favour of China", and is likely to get further skewed as Beijing is preparing to counter the US Missile Defence Programme.

"As far as India is concerned, it cannot be ignored that every major Indian city is within the reach of Chinese missiles and this capability is being further augmented to include submarine launched ballistic missiles," the report stated in the opening chapter.

The MoD's annual report is India's official articulation about its security environment and the national security objectives it necessitate.

The stern tenor of the reference to China in this report is in stark contrast to the oozing bonhomie of Defence Minister George Fernandes's visit to China in April.

While highlighting the fundamental determinants of India's security planning, the report stated with stunning candour that "the Indian armed forces have a two-front obligation, which require them to safeguard the security of our borders with Pakistan as well as with China". In the past, India has been very guarded in expressing apprehensions about China.

The report also minced no words in openly expressing umbrage to the Chinese axis with Pakistan. "China's close defence relationship with Pakistan takes a particular edge in view of the latter's known belligerence and hostility to India and its acquisition of nuclear assets," it states.

First Published: May 31, 2003 00:49 IST