I’m not sure about all of the implications of this, but it has some troubling aspects. India is showing signs of worry about its relations with China, and it is demonstrating a regional concern as well. It is interesting that India seems to be lessening its historical concerns with Pakistan and is beefing up its Chinese borders. Just more signs of increasing instability around the world.
India is turning away from its long preoccupation with declining Pakistan as rising Chinese power sets alarm bells ringing in Delhi. That at least is the message of this important Reuters review of India’s changing defense posture.
In Reuters’ words:
Defence chiefs are hurrying to modernise ageing weaponry as China reinforces a 3,500-km (2,200-mile) shared but disputed border through the Himalayas.
It took 11 years to select France’s Rafale as the favoured candidate for a $15 billion splurge on 126 new combat jets to replace a Soviet-era fleet of MiGs dubbed “flying coffins” for their high crash rate.
At the same time, feeling encircled as China projects its fast-growing naval power from Hormuz to Malacca, India is rushing to firm up friendships the length and breadth of the Indian Ocean.
India is the world’s largest arms importer with plans to spend $100 billion on weapons over the next decade.
India’s air force, army and navy all face fundamental changes as the country seeks to cope with the ambitious modernization and rapid growth of China’s military might. The effort is putting an immense strain on the cumbersome bureaucracy (with more than a whiff of corruption) behind the Indian armed forces and there are those who think India can’t manage the complexities of overhauling, modernizing and expanding three service branches at once.
But the fear of China leaves little choice. India lost a 1962 war with China over disputed border territories and fears that a repeat conflict would have a similar or even worse result. Part of what is happening is a massive attempt to rebuild and strengthen border fortifications in the northeast, where Indian territory borders on China — and where the boundaries are in dispute.