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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

China ramping up infrastructure near border a matter of concern: Defence secretary Ajay Kumar

Speaking at the IAF Conclave in Bengaluru, he said that although last year’s tension near Galwan was effectively controlled by the Indian Army, the position on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continues to be tense.

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
Updated: October 23, 2021 9:21:13 am
Defence secretary Ajay Kumar speaking at an event in Bengaluru on Friday. (Express Photo)

Defence secretary Ajay Kumar, while speaking at the Indian Air Force conclave in Bengaluru on Friday, said China’s ramping up of infrastructure near the international border was a “matter of concern”, especially after the clashes at Galwan last year.

Speaking on the topic of Preparation for War, he said that although last year’s tension near Galwan was effectively controlled by the Indian Army, the position on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continues to be tense.

“The fact that our adversity continues to ramp up both infrastructure and assets, all across the border, remains a matter of concern. We continue to see increased activities of China and disputes, which unilaterally need to be toned down in the South China Sea. We continue to see cross-border proxy war and facilitation of terrorism, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation in Afghanistan today has caused penchants for new challenges which could happen at any point of time,” he said.

He added, “China has moved towards theatre commands and its operational doctrine has made it abundantly clear that it wants to become a world class military power. It has set for itself a complete military modernization by 2035 and to be a world class military by 2049. We have witnessed that China’s capabilities in the spheres of ship-building, land vs conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, integrated air defence, and the space and cyber sectors have grown exponentially over the last decade. In December 2015, China set up the PLA strategic force which we know has the capability to influence the electromagnetic spectrum.”

In the wake of modernisation efforts that are undertaken by China, the defence secretary said that the nature of warfare has changed significantly in the last 50 years. “Today, we have non-conventional ways of fighting wars, and we need to be prepared for it. Artificial intelligence, as a determining influence, robotics, information and cyber warfare, and other new technologies have a disruptive effect on the defence establishment of any country. It is going to gain the symmetry of military power between nations that has the potential to disrupt existing policies and doctrines,” he added.

He stated that after the United States of America, China has the largest number of satellites — 281 as against Russia’s 64 and India’s 33.

“Today, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has 32 operational satellites for complete global coverage and this number is going to expand further. China is offering BeiDou on all its electronic platforms and products to over 120 countries. This has the ability to replace first world GPS and can create real time geospatial data which can alter the military capabilities of any country. There is also a need for a deterrence against non-kinetic attacks on assets in space. As such, from our perspective, it becomes important to work with friendly countries with greater geospatial awareness,” he added.

Talking about the military developments that have taken place in the five years, Kumar said, “Rafale, C-295 transport aircraft, the LCA, the Apache helicopter and UAVs have bolstered our Army’s capabilities. In fact, in the last five years, Rs 2.5 lakh crore have been spent on the modernization of the Indian Air Force, which is more than double of what was spent in the previous five years.”

He added that in the new technology domain, India has over 1,000 start-ups that provide new technologies to the Armed Forces.

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