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India wary as China conducts biggest "long-range" war games

India's Navy chief says his military is no match for China's growing forces.

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The exercise will have troops operating from up to 1,000 miles from their home bases. Though China is a vast country with significant internal dissent – rioting by ethnic Uighurs in Urumqi this July (and in Tibet last year) occurred more than 2,000 miles from Beijing – some neighbors fear it is intent on expansion.

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The Times of India said strategists have long worried about the possibility that an expanding rail network in China could be used to "enhanc(e) China’s military superiority over neighboring India."

On Monday, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta warned in rather stark terms that China's military is outstripping India's, according to the Hindustan Times. It was an unusually blunt admission:

“In military terms, both conventionally and unconventionally, we can neither have the capability nor the intention to match China force for force…” He said Beijing was in the process of consolidating its comprehensive national power and creating formidable military capability. “Once that is done, China is likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighbourhood,” said Mehta, who as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, is the country’s senior most military commander.

Two months ago, India's former Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said China was a greater threat to India than Pakistan.

Further reading:

Briefing: Indian Ocean as new strategic playing field (6/28/09)

Chinese Army opens (small) window on operations (7/30/09)

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