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Agni 5: 'India SHOULD NOT overestimate its strength'

Last updated on: April 19, 2012 16:36 IST

'Both countries are emerging powers'

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Reacting cautiously to India's test of the Agni 5 missile, China on Thursday said the two countries are not rivals and enjoy "sound" relations.

"China has taken note of reports on India's missile launch. The two countries have a 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 told a media briefing in Beijing when asked about the launch.

In Delhi, diplomatic sources in the Chinese embassy said, "The Agni 5 launch can give rise to another round of arms race in this part of the world."

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Image: A surface-to-surface Agni V missile is launched from Wheeler Island
Photographs: Reuters

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'China's nuclear power is stronger'

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Asked whether China was concerned as most of the country would come under the Agni's range, Liu said, "Both countries are emerging powers. We are not rivals. We are cooperative partners. We should cherish the hard earned momentum of cooperation."

But China's state-run Global Times came out with a strong editorial criticising the launch, claiming that the Chinese nuclear power is more "stronger and reliable" and New Delhi has "no chance" to catch up.

"India should not overestimate its strength. Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China, that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China. 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," stated The Global Times.

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Photographs: Reuters

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'Whole of Asia in strike range'

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The Global Times article further said that while India's path for boosting its military strength has not met too many obstacles, the country is still poor and lags behind in infrastructure construction.

It also criticized the West for consistently overlooking India's disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties.

It questioned why the West remains silent about the fact that India's military spending increased by 17 percent in 2012 and the country has again become the largest weapons importer in the world.

The paper warned India against overstating the value of its Western allies and the profits it could gain from participating in the containment of China. If it equates long-range strategic missiles with the deterrence of China, and stirs up further hostility, it could be sorely mistaken, stated The Global Times.

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Photographs: Reuters

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'Capable of sending a nuclear warhead to Beijing'

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The state-run Xinhua news agency cautiously observed that Agni 5 "brings the whole of Asia, 70 percent of Europe and other regions under its strike range and puts India among a select band of countries in the world to possess the technology of Inter- Continental Ballistic Missiles".

Not missing the implications of such a major missile test, the Washington Post stated, "India successfully test-launched a long-range missile on Thursday that would give it the capability of sending a nuclear warhead as far as China's capital, Beijing, for the first time, officials said.

Officials and defense experts said that the Agni-V missile marks a significant improvement in India's nuclear-deterrent capability and was clearly aimed at bolstering its defense against neighboring China".

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Image: Chinese President Hu Jintao with President Pratibha Patil
Photographs: Reuters
Tags: Beijing , China , India , Inter

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