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Relations between India and China to remain tense: US intel chief

US intelligence chief on Tuesday said that he expects tensions between India and China to continue despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August.

China’s growth may decelerate as the property sector cools and if Beijing accelerates economic reforms. India’s economy is expected to rebound after headwinds from taxation changes and demonetisation, Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, said in his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

“We expect relations between India and China to remain tense and possibly to deteriorate further, despite the negotiated settlement to their three-month border standoff in August, elevating the risk of unintentional escalation, Coats said during the hearing on ‘Worldwide Threat Assessment’ of the US intelligence community.

In East Asia, Coats said, China will continue to pursue an active foreign policy, especially in the Asia Pacific region highlighted by a firm stance on its sovereignty claims in the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS), its relations with Taiwan, and its pursuit of economic engagement across the region.

China, which has been reinforcing its hold on the disputed SCS with military installations in the shoals and reclaimed islands, claims sovereignty over almost all of it.

Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over SCS.Coats said regional tension will persist due to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes and simmering tension over territorial and maritime disputes in the ECS and SCS.

China will also pursue efforts aimed at fulfilling its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to expand its economic reach and political influence across Eurasia, Africa, and the Pacific through infrastructure projects, Coats said.

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