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Chinese influence, Pakistan major security threats: Indian Air Chief

NEW DELHI: Indian Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha has termed China’s growing influence in the sub-continent and Pakistan’s alleged support to militant groups as major security threats to India.

According to Indian media reports, in his inaugural address at the 12th Subroto Mukerjee Seminar at the Centre for Air Power Studies, Air Chief Raha said that China’s growing influence was with a strategic aim in mind, and it was being factored in India’s foreign and defence policies.

“China has increased its economic and military ties with all our neighbours. Rapid infrastructure development is taking place in the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region). World’s highest airfield at Daocheng Yading, highest railway line from Xiniang, Qinghai province to TAR capital, development of the Gwadar port and Economic corridor through Kashmir and Pakistan, development of roads in TAR up to Indian border and increasing economic and military ties with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar are all strategic moves by China to contain India,” he said.

Talking on Beijing’s other regional moves, Indian Air Chief added that “China has been making sustained efforts to make its presence felt in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region), including dispatch of submarines in the name of Piracy control, with a strange logic.”

Noting that the rise of China, India and ASEAN has shifted the global economic centre of gravity and hence, the strategic centre of gravity to the Asia Pacific Region, ACM Raha said that India faced a unique challenge – it has the dual task of physical security of the borders and maintaining harmonious relations with its neighbours.

Talking about Pakistan, ACM Raha alleged that the “support of the Pakistan Army to the militant organisations and continuous interference in the internal affairs of Jammu and Kashmir will remain a source of friction between the two countries.”

“Despite grim internal situation, Pakistan has managed to strike a balance in its relations with China and USA. It has steadily built up its nuclear and ballistic missile capability with covert assistance from China and North Korea while continuing to receive monetary support and conventional weapons and aircraft from both USA as well as China. Their gamble of ‘Running with Hares and Hunting with Hounds’, while proclaiming itself as a member of GWOT is paying off handsomely due to various geo-political reasons,” ACM Raha added.

Talking on the internal security challenges, ACM Raha said that it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the internal threats to security from the external ones. According to him, “in the recent past Naxalism has emerged as the single biggest threat to India’s internal security and has assumed serious and threatening propositions.”

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