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Is India readying for conflict with China?

A top US intelligence official said that the Indian Army is strengthening itself for a limited conflict with China.

Published: 01st February 2012 01:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 05:47 PM   |  A+A-

WASHINGTON: Noting that India is increasingly getting concerned about China's posture on its border, a top US intelligence official on Wednesday said that the Indian Army is strengthening itself for a "limited conflict" with China.

"Despite public statements intended to downplay tensions between India and China, we judge that India is increasingly concerned about China's posture along their disputed border and Beijing's perceived aggressive posture in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific region," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in his prepared testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"The Indian Army believes a major Sino-Indian conflict is not imminent, but the Indian military is strengthening its forces in preparation to fight a limited conflict along the disputed border, and is working to balance Chinese power projection in the Indian Ocean," he said.

India, Clapper said, has expressed support for a strong US military posture in East Asia and US engagement in Asia. He said China in 2011 appeared to temper the assertive behavior that characterised its foreign policy the year before, but the internal and external drivers of that behavior persist.

"Moreover, although Chinese leaders have affirmed their commitment to a peaceful and pragmatic foreign policy - and especially to stable relations with China's neighbours and the rest of the world - Beijing may take actions contrary to that goal if it perceives that China's sovereignty or national security is being seriously challenged," he said.

Many of Beijing's military capability goals have now been realised, resulting in impressive military might.

Other goals remain longer term, but the Chinese army is receiving the funding and political support to transform it into a fully modern force, capable of sustained operations in Asia and beyond, he said.

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