NEW DELHI: The growing profile of the Chinese army, Beijing’s attempts to expand its influence in India’s neighbourhood and Pakistan’s persistent refusal to crackdown on the terror groups operating from its soil have been identified as major concerns by the defence ministry.
The ministry, in its annual report for 2011-12, released here on Monday, pointed out that China had upgraded its military force projection against India through rapid modernisation, but said, at the same time, that the government was “conscious and watchful” of Beijing’s rising military profile in the immediate and extended neighbourhood.
On Pakistan, it observed that the country continued to be a “cause of concern” because of the unhindered activities of terrorist outfits operating from its soil. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his discussions with Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari here on Sunday, had raised the issue, but the latter remained non-committal.
On the demand of handing over LeT chief Hafiz Saeed for his alleged role in the Mumbai terror attack, Zardari took the stand that the matter needed “further discussions” between the two sides. Less than 12 hours later, Islamabad was again on the denial mode, with prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani asserting that India needed to submit “more proof” on his role in the 26/11 assault.
The report expressed concern over China’s pro-active role in the neighbourhood. “Chinese footprints in India’s neighbourhood are increasing progressively due to its proactive diplomacy through political, military and economic engagements,” it said. “Rapid infrastructure development in Tibetand Xinjiang has considerably upgraded China’s military force projection against Indiaand improved their overall strategic and operational flexibility,” the reported added. “India remains conscious and watchful of the implications of China’s profile in the immediate and extended neighbourhood.”
The report said the Army is “fully seized” of the security scenario and has “identified” strategically important infrastructure requirements along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and they are being developed in a phased manner. The report said India has been desirous of cordial relations with China and, “to this end, a policy of positive engagement and maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC is ensured”.
Turning its gaze towards the other neighbour, the defence ministry document said a prosperous Pakistan was in the best interest of India, but the “existence of terrorist camps across the India-Pakistan border and continued infiltration attempts along the LoC continue to pose a threat”.