In the latest display of regional belligerence India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony today (Friday, November 27, 2009) expressed serious concern over growing military ties between China and Pakistan are a serious concern to India. Interestingly, this reaction came a year later: China and Pakistan had signed a military cooperation pact last year.
Mr. Antony was of course concerned about China’s rising influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region; India considers this region as it’s backyard and wants to maintain its sphere of influence.
As I have written previously India and China also jostle for global resources and influence. While Indo-Pak relations went southward after the unfortunate Mumbai terrorist attacks China has funded projects (or considering investment) in Azad Kashmir. India has also been nervous about China’s decision to issue separate visas to Indian Kashmiris.
Indian Defense Minister Antony told his audience; “The increasing nexus between China and Pakistan in military sphere remains an area of serious concern. We have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly. At the same time, we need to be vigilant at all times.”
Tensions between India and China flared in recent months, especially with the re-emergence of a long-standing border dispute made worse by a visit by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to Indian territory claimed by Beijing.
And, I have written in the past that India is not only concerned with growing Pak-Sino relations, she is also worried about strengthening of China and Russia ties.
India has amplified its rhetoric against China, and Beijing has been frank in expressing concern over India’s planned Agni-V ballistic missile test. From Arunachal Pradesh to Azad Kashmir, there have been several key instances last week in which Indian foreign policymakers seem to have been unnerved, even alleging China is constructing a dam on the Brahmaputra.