New Delhi, Sep.1 : Experts have said that China is concerned, if not annoyed with India's plans to have a fleet of aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines in the next decade and recently tested nuclear-capable missiles that put China's major cities well within range.
New Delhi's decision to reopen air force bases near the Chinese border has also invited negative reactions from officials in Beijing, they claim.
Encouraging India's role as a counter to China, the U.S. too has stepped up exercises with the Indian navy and last year sold it an American warship for the first time, the 17,000-ton amphibious transport dock Trenton.
American defense contractors have also been offering India's military everything from advanced fighter jets to anti-ship missiles.
"It is in our interest to develop this relationship," U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a visit to New Delhi in February. "Just as it is in the Indians' interest."
Officially, China says it's not worried about India's military buildup or its closer ties with the U.S.
However, foreign analysts believe China is deeply concerned by the possibility of a U.S.-Indian military alliance.
Ian Storey of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore said China sent strong diplomatic messages expressing opposition to a massive naval exercise India held last year with the U.S., Japan, Singapore and Australia.
Rahul Bedi, the Jane's analyst, added "those exercises rattled the Chinese."
India's 2007 defense budget was about 21.7 billion dollars, up 7.8 percent from 2006.
China said its 2008 military budget would jump 17.6 percent to about 59 billion dollars, following a similar increase last year.
The U.S. estimates China's actual defense spending may be much higher.
Like India, China is focusing on its navy, building an increasingly sophisticated submarine fleet that could become one of the world's largest.
Though analysts believe China's military buildup is mostly focused on preventing U.S. intervention in any conflict with Taiwan, India is still likely to persist in efforts to catch up as China expands its influence in what is essentially India's backyard.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankans -- who have looked warily for centuries at vast India to the north -- welcome the Chinese investment in their country.