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China posing new challenges to India, says Indian Minister

A file photo of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (PTI): With China developing its military capabilities in outer space and doing a global search for resources, India on Monday said its neighbour posed new strategic and geo-political challenges, forcing it to look for more sophisticated ways to deal with the Asian giant.

“We (India) would need to develop more sophisticated ways of dealing with these new challenges (strategic and geo-political) posed by China. We are today faced with a new China,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the National Defence College here.

“Today's China seeks to further its interests more aggressively than in the past, thanks to the phenomenal increase of its capacities after 30 years of reforms,” Mukherjee said, delivering a lecture on 'India's Security Challenges and Foreign Policy Imperatives'.

“There were also new set of challenges which China posed, such as the strategic challenge as China develops its capabilities in outer space; the geo-political challenge as it reaches out to various parts of the globe in search of raw materials and resources,” he added.

Noting that relationship between India and China is ‘somewhat normalised’, the minister said there still existed ‘some unresolved issues’ between the two countries.

“However, we need to realise that as a result of our engagement, today, we have a completely different situation than when we started. Further, the economic developments in the period had given both countries new capabilities,” he added.

In May 2006, India and China had signed a MoU on exchanges and cooperation in the field of defence during the visit of the then Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The MoU laid a solid foundation and institutionalised the framework for further development of defence cooperation between the two countries, officials said.

The first-ever annual defence dialogue between India and China was held in November last year, following which the armies of the two countries held their first joint training exercise in Kunming in December. The exercise had focused on counter-terrorism and anti-insurgency operations.

This year too, the two countries are planning a follow-up army exercise on Indian soil for which discussions are currently in progress.

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