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China is our main enemy:George

The Asian Age: China is our main enemy, threat from sea: George
(May 4, 1998) 
New Delhi, May 3: Defence Minister George Fenandes has said China is
India's "potential treat number one," and the country had often
underplayed or even ignored the treat emanating from Beijing.

In an interview to a private TV channel, Mr. Fenandes said China was a
bigger treat than Pakistan as Chinese military and naval activity had
begun encircling India. The under-playing of the Chinese treat could
"create a lot of problems for us in the near future." "I think there's a
reluctance to face the reality that China's intentions need to be
questioned," he said.

Mr. Fenandes, who spoke on "India's security perspective" at the V K
Krishna Menon memorial lecture here on Sunday, said the situation was
worsening as China had become the most important power after the US. He
criticized government planners for focussing only on the potential treat
from Pakistan for the past 50 years. Quoting from the letters and speeches
of Mr. Krishna Menon, former defence minister Y B Chavan and Mr. Ram Moha
Lohia, he said these leaders had expressed concerns about Beijing's
growing ambitions ever since China annexed Tibet.

The leaders had also spoken out against the links between China and
Pakistan. A Chinese surveillance base on Burma's Coco Islands, located
about 40 km from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, was capable of monitoring
all Indian missile and defence tests, he said. The Burmese Army has grown
from strength 1.6 lakh to 4.5 lakhs with Chinese assistance and 11
airbases in Tibet had been upgraded over the past eight months to
facilitate the operation of Sukhoi fighters which could strike targets
deep within India, he said. China was holding 38,000 sq. km of Indian
Territory in the Ladakh area while 86,000 sq. km was held by Pakistan, Mr.
Fenandes said. Providing evidence of the links between Beijing Islamabad,
he said Pakistan had given 4,500 sq. km of Indian territory to China.

In the TV interview, Mr. Fenandes said there was increased Chinese naval
activity on Burmas western coast, including the construction of harbors
where Chinese ships could be towed-in. "There is no doubt in my mind that
China's fast expanding navy, which will be the biggest navy in this part
of the world, will be getting into the Indian Ocean fairly soon," he said.
Talking to the reporters after the lecture, Mr. Fenandes said dialogue
with China and Pakistan on contentious issues would have to be taken to a
"decisive stage." India is against war and it believes in peace, but the
talks should not be limited to confidence building measures as
long-standing disputes such as Kashmir have been dragging on for years,"
he said. "Several of our neighbours have weapons of mass destruction which
can cause havoc, and serious talks to solve these problems have become all
the more necessary."

The defence minister said he had discussed "all issues of mutual concern"
with the chief of Chinese armed forces, Gen. Fu Quanyou, during his recent
visit to the country. "I am assuming they are quite serious about
resolving outstanding issues," he said.