- The US has issued fresh warning about China’s expansionist designs and coercive tactics to smother opposition from rival claimants on territorial issues.
- The Pentagon (HQ of US department of defence), in its latest report said that China does not want to jeopardise regional stability, on which its economic development hinges, by provoking full-fledged armed conflicts with its neighbours.
What is the Pentagon report about?
- The report is on China’s expansive military modernisation, which ranges from long-range precision-strike missiles, nuclear bombers and submarines to expanding information, cyber, space, counter-space and expeditionary warfare capabilities.
- China’s military modernisation is primarily aimed at preventing any US intervention in the Taiwan Strait and protecting its energy supplies coming through the IOR, but India certainly needs to keep its guard up.
About the Pentagon Report
- The report comes ahead of the inaugural “two-plus-two” dialogue between India and the US.
- According to the Report:
- China is increasingly willing to employ coercive measures to advance its interests, backed by its growing economic, diplomatic and military clout.
- China’s use of such tactics, which fall short of armed conflicts, to pursue its strategic objectives are evident in its expanding territorial and maritime sovereignty claims in South and East China Seas as well as the 73-day troop standoff with India at Doklam near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction last year.
- The Chinese air force has been re-assigned a nuclear mission.
- The deployment and integration of nuclear-capable bombers would for the first time provide China with a nuclear triad of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea and air.
- After establishing its first naval base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa in August 2017, China is also keen on additional logistics facilities in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- PLA Navy seeks to be able to operate across the greater Indo-Pacific region in high-intensity actions over a period of several months.
- Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets.
What is Doklam issue?
- The issue started when India (Indian Army) objected a road construction by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China in the Doklam plateau which China claims to be a part of its Donglang region. However, India and Bhutan recognise Doklam as Bhutan territory.
- Later, China accused Indian troops of entering in its territory and India accused the Chinese of destroying its bunkers (People’s Liberation Army bulldozed an old bunker of the Indian army stationed in Doklam).
- Thereafter China stopped the passage pilgrims heading toward Kailash-Mansarovar through the Nathu La pass, Sikkim. The route is a better alternative to Lepu Lekh route via Uttarakhand and had been opened for pilgrims in 2015.
- Hereafter, both India and China increased the presence of their troops and since then there has been a war of words especially from the Chinese state media.
- Although a military standoff was averted, diplomatic negotiations have not yielded many results to cool-off the passions across the border
What is two plus two diplomacy?
- In foreign policy parleys, ‘Two plus Two’ is the term used for the institutionalisation of a dialogue mechanism between two countries consisting of the key ministries of defence & external affairs.
- The two plus two dialogue between India and US is to focus on strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation between the two countries.
What is India’s stand?
- India continues to chart its course of strategic neutrality.
- Even as it strengthens military ties with Washington, New Delhi has also firmly declared its intention to ink the Rs 39,000 crore deal with Moscow for five S-400 Triumph air defence missile systems later this year.
- Similarly, despite being wary of China’s assertive behaviour along the Line of Actual Control and its growing naval deployments in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India is also set to roll out the red carpet for Chinese defence minister General Wei Fenghe’s visit to India.