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India a driver behind China’s nuclear modernisation, says Pentagon report

Report comes days before Modi’s China trip, talks of China’s increasing presence in Indian Ocean

Indo-sino, Indo-chinese, India, India nuclear force, China nuclear force, China nuclear force modernisation, US Department of Defence, Pentagon, People’s Republic of China, US Congress,  No First Use policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi, Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles, Indian Ocean Region, india news, china news, nation news, news The report comes just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China on May 14. (Picture for representation only)

India’s nuclear force is an additional driver behind China’s nuclear force modernisation, a report by the US Department of Defence has said. The Pentagon report, titled Military and Security developments involving People’s Republic of China, was presented to the US Congress on May 8.

It has said China is likely to continue investing considerable resources to maintain a limited, but survivable, nuclear force to ensure that the PLA can deliver a damaging responsive nuclear strike despite its No First Use policy. The report comes just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China on May 14.

“China’s nuclear weapons policy prioritizes maintaining a nuclear force able to survive an attack and respond with sufficient strength to inflict unacceptable damage…Similarly, India’s nuclear force is an additional driver behind China’s nuclear force modernization,” the report says.

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According to the report, China’s nuclear arsenal currently consists of 50-60 Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles besides nuclear capable ballistic missile submarines — four commissioned and one under development with an eventual ability to carry ballistic missiles with a 7400 km range.

In what may interest India, the report suggests that China is pursuing “long term, comprehensive” military modernisation programme to fight “short duration, high-intensity regional conflicts”.

“China is seeking high-profile leadership in the region and globally and is taking initiatives to establish multi-lateral mechanisms such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank,” says the report. It observes that while the Chinese leadership officially supports the Deng Xiaoping dictum to “observe calmly, secure position…hide capabilities, maintain low-profile”, Chinese interests from “Deng’s era have changed”. Xi’s interpretation of Deng’s dictum is China defending its interests “especially territorial sovereignty,” the report notes.

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The 93-page report which pegs the Chinese potential conflict with Taiwan briefly mentions the September 2014 standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh that coincided with the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping. It also refers to the increasing Chinese presence in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and notes that in 2014, PLA Navy deployed its Shang-class nuclear submarines in IOR, a fact that demonstrates its capability to operate in the region to safeguard its interests.

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The report adds that China, with an estimated military budget of USD 165 billion growing at 9.5 per cent per annum is modernising its military hardware, organising its military force structure and augmenting its cyber warfare capabilities to ensure that its footprints are felt in its areas of interest like the South China Sea, IOR—two regions that are significant for India too.

The report underlines that Pakistan remains China’s prime partner in exports and notes that China continues to offer conventional weapons and industrial cooperation to Islamabad.

First published on: 11-05-2015 at 01:32:33 am
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