NEW DELHI – Growing military ties between China and Pakistan are a serious concern to India, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said on Friday, in the latest display of a prickly rivalry between New Delhi and its neighbors.
India worries about China's rising influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, a neighborhood New Delhi has traditionally considered as its sphere of influence. The Asian giants also jostle for global resources and influence.
China and Pakistan signed a military cooperation pact last year.
Whereas India's relations with old foe Pakistan dived after last year's Mumbai attacks, Beijing has funded projects in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, claimed by India, and raised hackles by issuing separate visas to Indian Kashmiris.
"The increasing nexus between China and Pakistan in military sphere remains an area of serious concern," Antony said in a speech.
"We have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly. At the same time, we need to be vigilant at all times."
Tensions between India and China flared in recent months, especially with the re-emergence of a long-standing border dispute made worse by a visit by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to Indian territory claimed by Beijing.
India and China fought a short war in 1962. Though another conflict is highly unlikely, India's air force chief has gone on record saying China was a bigger threat than Pakistan to India.
(Reporting by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Ron Popeski)