WASHINGTON: “India seeks status as a global power,” the Pentagon’s top intelligence chief told United States (US) lawmakers on Tuesday, adding that New Delhi perceives its strategic forces as necessary elements to achieve that goal.
India has put its first domestically-built nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant, into service and is set to take delivery of its second nuclear sub, the INS Arighat, in 2018, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt Gen Robert Ashley told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).
He said that India continues to modernise its military to improve its posture to defend its interests at home and in the broader Indian Ocean region while reinforcing its diplomatic and economic outreach across Asia.
“Continued exchange of heavy fire between Indian and Pakistani forces along the Line of Control (LoC) poses a risk of inadvertent or gradual escalation of hostilities,” he added.
“In 2017, the lengthy Doklam stand-off between Indian and Chinese forces along the Bhutan-China border heightened tension between India and China and prompted both sides to increase their forces near the Line of Actual Control (LoAC),” he further added.
“We expect that both sides will maintain this elevated force posture along disputed border areas through the remainder of 2018,” said Ashley.