Aug. 17 – Although economic and political cooperation between India and China has been improving over the last few years, bilateral relations remain tense regarding international borders according to a congressionally mandated annual report released on Monday by the Pentagon.
Using alarmist and self-serving rhetoric at times, the Pentagon’s 83-page report, titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China (2010), assesses and analyzes China’s military ambitions; dedicating a portion of the document to current Sino-Indian relations.
“Beijing remains concerned with persistent disputes along China’s shared border with India and the strategic ramifications of India’s rising economic, political, and military power,” the Pentagon stated.
“Despite increased political and economic relations over the years between China and India, tensions remain along their shared 4,057 kilometer border, most notable over Arunachal Pradesh, which China asserts is part of Tibet and therefore of China, and over the Askai Chin region at the western end of the Tibetan Plateau,” read the document.
The report claims that both countries are stepping up their military efforts along the disputed border areas to help assert their claims.
“To improve regional deterrence, the PLA has replaced older liquid-fueled, nuclear-capable CSS-3 intermediate-range ballistic missiles with more advanced and survivable solid-fueled CSS-5 MRBMs (medium-range ballistic missiles) and may be developing contingency plans to move airborne troops into the region.”
Furthermore, an Indian academic is quoted in the report as saying that in 2008, the Indian military recorded 270 border violations and almost 2,300 instances of “aggressive border patrolling” by Chinese forces.
Beijing has also tried to use other nonmilitary means to undermine Indian efforts in the region to promote its own agenda. In 2009, “China tried to block a US$2.9 billion loan to Indian from the Asian Development Bank, claiming part of the loan would have been used for water projects in Arunchal Pradesh. This represented the first time China sought to influence this dispute through a multinational institution. ”
Meanwhile, the then-governor of Arunchal Pradesh announced last year that India “would deploy more troops and fighter jets to the area.”
Although China fought brief wars with India and Vietnam in 1962 and 1979, respectively, Beijing has been more willing to negotiate with its neighbors in recent years despite the tone taken in the Pentagon report. Since 1998, China has settled 11 territorial disputes with six of its neighbors, but many hotly contested regions like Arunchal Pradesh and the South China Sea are still a long way from being resolved.