India should not overestimate its strength even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China, the state-run Global Times of China said today, reacting sharply to the launch of Agni V missile by India.
”India should be clear that China’s nuclear power is stronger and more reliable. For the foreseeable future, India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China.”
The newspaper, which traditionally reflects the official Chinese position, said India should also not overstate the value of its Western allies and the profits it could gain from participating in a containment of China. ”If it equates long range strategic missiles with deterrence of China, and stirs up further hostility, it could be sorely mistaken,” it added.
The influential tabloid of China’s ruling Communist Party, in an editorial, said India and China should develop as friendly a relationship as possible. Even if this cannot be achieved, the two should at least tolerate each other and learn to coexist.
It wondered why India’s path for boosting its military strength has not met too many obstacles. ”India is still poor and lags behind in infrastructure construction, but its society is highly supportive of developing nuclear power and the West chooses to overlook India’s disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties. The West remains silent on the fact that India’s military spending increased by 17 per cent in 2012 and the country has again become the largest weapons importer in the world.”
It said China understood the Indian desire to catch up with China. As the most appropriate strategic target for India, China was willing to take India as a peaceful competitor.
”Due to historical reasons, China and India are sensitive toward each other. But objectively speaking, China does not spend much time guarding against India, while India focuses a lot of attention on China.” It said China hoped India would remain calm, as this would be beneficial to both the giants.
CCTV,China’s popular English news channel, said Agni V could hit anywhere in China, Asia and Europe. It travels at 24 times the speed of sound. That means it could reach Shanghai in 16-and-a-half minutes,Tehran in 17 and Seoul in 19 minutes. The missile’s advanced equipment also gives its enhanced accuracy.
The TV channel quoted Su Xiaohui from the China Institute of International Studies as noting that the international community was unanimous and vocal in condemning North Korea’s satellite launch but was silent on India’s launch, considering it a very sophisticated piece of military weaponry.
Officially, however, China reacted cautiously, saying the two countries were not rivals and enjoyed “sound” relations though the sources in the Chinese establishment felt that the launch could give rise to another round of arms race in the region.
“China has taken note of reports on India’s missile launch. The two countries have sound relationship. During the (recently held) BRICS meeting (in Delhi) the leadership had consensus to take the relationship further and to push forward bilateral strategic cooperative partnership,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin was quoted as saying at a media briefing in Beijing when asked about the launch.