An Indian Perspective on China’s Military Modernization

An Indian Perspective on China’s Military Modernization

by Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
January 6, 2022

This essay examines India’s key concerns about China’s military modernization, the Indian response, and the opportunities for enhancing cooperation with the U.S.



China’s military modernization directly affects India, which has responded in several ways. China’s military reforms since 2015 have improved the jointness and integration of the Chinese military forces, especially the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Ground Force and the PLA Air Force. India has responded by increasing its own military capabilities, which include augmenting its infrastructure network along the Sino-Indian border, raising a new mountain strike corps, enhancing its strategic forces, and beefing up its naval forces. It is also building a strong strategic partnership with the U.S. Alongside these efforts, India has strengthened other regional strategic partnerships to complement this strategic partnership.

  • China’s modernization and India’s response will likely result in heightened and enduring tension between the two countries.
  • The Quad and other minilaterals, including trilateral groupings among key strategic partners such as Australia and Japan, have the potential to emerge as military partnerships in the future.
  • Increased military spending in the region is propelling greater military modernization and buildups that could worsen the security dilemma that is already playing out in the Indo-Pacific.

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan is the Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.