We're going to continue to enhance our bilateral engagement with India, not in the China context, but because India is an increasingly important player by themselves. And we are going to engage India because of its value—US defence official
China has increased defence capabilities and deployed more troops along the Indian border, the Pentagon has said, as it warned of increasing Chinese military presence including bases in various parts of the world, particularly Pakistan.
"We have noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia Abraham M. Denmark told reporters during a news conference in Washington after Pentagon submitted its annual 2016 report to the US Congress on 'Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China'.
However, Denmark said it is difficult to conclude on the real intention behind this.
"It is difficult to say how much of this is driven by internal considerations to maintain internal stability, and how much of it is an external consideration," he said in response to a question on China upgrading its military command in Tibet.
Referring to US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter's recent trip to India, Denmark said he had a very positive and productive visit.
"We're going to continue to enhance our bilateral engagement with India, not in the China context, but because India is an increasingly important player by themselves. And we are going to engage India because of its value," he said.
The Defence Department also warned of China's increasing military presence including bases in various parts of the world, in particular Pakistan—with which it has a "longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests".
China's expanding international economic interests are increasing demands for the PLA Navy (PLAN) to operate in more distant seas to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and critical sea lines of communication, it said.
"China most likely will seek to establish additional naval logistics hubs in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and a precedent for hosting foreign militaries," the report said.
The Pentagon in its report expressed its concerns about Chinese military buildup near the Indian border.
"Tensions remain along disputed portions of the Sino- Indian border, where both sides patrol with armed forces.
"After a five-day military standoff in September 2015 at Burtse in Northern Ladakh, China and India held a senior-level flag-officer meeting, agreed to maintain peace, and retreated to positions mutually acceptable to both sides," it said.
The Pentagon said tensions remain with India along their shared 4,057-km border over Arunachal Pradesh (which China asserts is part of Tibet and, therefore, of China), and over the Askai Chin region at the western end of the Tibetan Plateau, despite increases in China-India political and economic relations.
China's nuclear arsenal currently consists of approximately 75-100 ICBMs, including the silo-based CSS-4 Mod 2 (DF-5A) and Mod 3(DF-5B), the solid-fueled, road-mobile CSS-10 Mod 1 and Mod 2 (DF-31 and DF-31A), and the more-limited-range CSS-3 (DF-4).
This force is complemented by road-mobile, solid-fueled CSS-5 Mod 6 (DF-21) MRBM for regional deterrence missions.
Pentagon said China's nuclear weapons policy prioritises maintaining a nuclear force able to survive an attack and to respond with sufficient strength to inflict unacceptable damage on an enemy.
"Further increases in the number of mobile ICBMs and the beginning of SSBN deterrence patrols will force the PLA to implement more sophisticated C2 systems and processes that safeguard the integrity of nuclear release authority for a larger, more dispersed force," it said.
The Pentagon said China continues to produce the JIN-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), with four commissioned and another under construction.
The JIN will eventually carry the CSS-NX-14 (JL-2) SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) with an estimated range of 7,200 km. Together these will give the PLAN its first credible long-range sea-based nuclear capability. JIN SSBNs based at Hainan Island in the South China Sea would then be able to conduct nuclear deterrence patrols, it said.