India’s China Question

While US concerns about China’s military modernization are well known, India has many of the same unanswered questions about its neighbor’s rapid military buildup and regional intentions, said Robert Blake, the State Department’s point man for South Asian affairs. The Indians are concerned about China’s blue water naval capability, Chinese power projection in the Indian Ocean, and Chinese military forces on their northeast border, Blake told reporters Tuesday in Washington, D.C. While the United States has made a significant effort to engage the Chinese military with mixed results, the Indians themselves have experienced a very “off and on” relationship with the Chinese, he said. “I don’t think they’ve had transparent discussions with the Chinese” regarding the latter’s buildup, he said. The uncertainty is influencing India’s own defense modernization activities, said Blake. While economic trade has increased between the two countries, the Sino-Indian border dispute has seen “halting” progress, noted Blake.