India and China have experienced tensions this year after a fatal clash between forces on either side occurred in the Ladakh region in June. Military deployments currently remain along the LAC boundary that separates them as officials engage in talks to ease tensions.
Now, India’s Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria has claimed India’s “most important national security challenge” is to understand China.
He also pointed to a “deepening and evolving Sino-Pak relationship,” according to Indian news outlet The Indian Express.
The military official made his comments at an event organised by New Delhi-based think tank the Vivekananda International Foundation.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also called China’s air force deployment “very strong”, but insisted India has “enough” to match it.
The official referred to South Asia as a “hotbed of contest between dominant powers” and said “rapidly-evolving uncertainties” had provided China with “an opportunity to demonstrate its growing power,” The Indian Express reported.
He also claimed Pakistan was “becoming a pawn in Chinese policy”.
Meanwhile, yesterday Indian news outlets reported the ninth round of talks between the two countries had been put on hold because China had appointed a new Western Theatre Commander, Gen Zhang Xudong.
Dates for the ninth round of talks are not thought to have been decided in any case.
In previous talks, both sides had agreed to “work towards ensuring complete disengagement in all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector at the earliest,” according to The Hindu.
They also said the ninth round of Corps Commander-level negotiations should be held “at an early date” to “restore peace”.
Earlier this month India’s Union defence minister Rajnath Singh claimed “we do not want conflict but peace”.
Recently, analysts said China is set to overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy by 2028.
The prediction came in a report by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research.
The group cited the Covid-19 pandemic as one reason why, stating that China had recovered relatively quickly from its effects and would grow overall in the year.
It added the US, by contrast, would shrink by five percent.