DPG China Monitor

China Monitor

The monitor features developments related to China during the month and is compiled by our research team of Brig. Arun Sahgal (Retd.), Ph.D., Senior Fellow, and Sanket Joshi, Research Associate, from open-source reports and publications.

In an interview with the US magazine Newsweek on the eve of India's national elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented on India-China relations. He highlighted that for India, relations with China are “important and significant”, suggesting that the prolonged situation at the border must be addressed urgently to resolve the “abnormalities” in bilateral relations. Reacting to PM Modi’s remarks, China maintained that stable ties were in both sides' common interests adding that the boundary question should be placed appropriately as it does not represent the entirety of China-India relations.

To strengthen its claims over India's state of Arunachal Pradesh, China released the fourth list of 30 standardised geographical names in “Zangnan” (Arunachal Pradesh). India rejected China's “senseless attempts” to rename places, asserting that “invented names” will not alter the fact that Arunachal Pradesh will always be an integral and inalienable part of India.

To strengthen India’s operational posture in eastern Ladakh, a new Army division (72 Division) is to be raised in 2024 as part of the 17 Mountain Strike Corps. With this force accretion, India will be deploying two strike corps in the region (1 and 17 Corps) to strengthen its military posture. Meanwhile, satellite images indicated that China is constructing a road in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (Shaksgam Valley), close to the Siachen Glacier.

Several high-level engagements took place between China and the US in April 2024, including a phone call between President Biden and President Xi on April 2, and a meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on April 26. Blinken also called on President Xi, who acknowledged that post the San Francisco summit last year, US-China relations have begun to stabilise, but warned that negative factors have also grown. He cautioned that Taiwan remained a red line while stressing that bilateral relations must be based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation.

On April 17, 2024, President Biden called for the tripling of tariffs on Chinese-made steel and aluminium imports. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who visited China from April 3-9, expressed concern about China’s industrial “over capacity”, particularly its exports of electric vehicles and solar modules.

The US, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines held their first joint naval exercise in the South China Sea on April 07, 2024. This preceded the first US-Japan-Philippines trilateral summit held in Washington D.C. on April 11, 2024.

The PLA instituted a major reform on April 19, 2024, creating an Information Support Force (ISF) by restructuring the existing Strategic Support Force set up in 2015. Beijing stressed that the ISF will coordinate the development and application of a network information system to enhance the PLA’s ability to fight and win modern wars.

To read this China Monitor, Vol. VII, Issue 4, please see the PDF attached.