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Cosy up to China, says book

Rahul Kashyap in New Delhi | June 12, 2003 15:08 IST

A book released on the eve of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to Beijing says India should cosy up to China instead of planning retaliatory strategies.

In India's Security Concerns in the Indian Ocean, author and journalist Anil Kumar Singh says China's DF-31, a new generation solid-fuel multiple warhead missile, 'can reach every nook and corner of India'.

"China can easily target India with its DF-3 and DF-31 missiles, (which are) armed with a 3.3 megaton thermonuclear warhead and capable of hitting targets up to 2,800km."

"... Ostensibly, the ongoing Chinese modernisation programme is designed to counter the US, yet it has serious implications impinging upon Indian security as all the new missile systems will arm Beijing with strategic mobility and maneuverability to keep India in check," writes Singh.

"China maintains close defence ties with Pakistan and Bangladesh, two neighbours of India. There is no denying the fact that growing Sino-Pakistan relations constitute an important factor that drives New Delhi for seeking better relations with Beijing."

India has a strong incentive to cultivate relations with Beijing in order to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan, the book quotes Australian strategic expert Sandy Gordon as saying.

"Undoubtedly, China's growing naval capabilities enable it to play a potential role in the Indian Ocean. It is also capable of power projection and can influence the geo-political situation in South and South-east Asia, thereby, entailing serious implications for India's maritime security."

"At the same time, India's past experience of Sino-Indian relations and the existing unresolved border dispute also reinforce India's apprehensions about China."

Emphasising the need to upgrade India's Naval preparedness, Singh says that the technological spin-off from India's missile and nuclear technologies could yield good dividends for modernising the weapons-system required by India.

"A modernised and well-equipped naval force along with long range missiles and nuclear weapons will ensure India's security vis-a-vis Indian Ocean."

Asserting that India is 'modestly' prepared to defend its maritime interests, Singh says New Delhi needs to upgrade its submarine fleet fitting them with state-of-the-art missiles.

In view of China's resurgent naval expansion and Pakistan's designs, India's surface naval combatants also require upgradation.

"After the decommissioning of INS Vikrant in 1997, Indian is left with only one aircraft carrier INS Viraat, which is also due for decommissioning in the near future,"  he points out.


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