January 22, 2007 16:10 IST
The recent successful launch of the satellite-killing missile by China will not be a threat to India, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said in Mangalore on Monday. Raju said the country had earmarked $30 billion as defence outlay during the 11th Five Year Plan period. This would be mainly utilised to modernise the armed forces and enhance the deterrent capability of the country's defences. This was not just to protect the borders but also to protect national assets, he said.
"Launching of such modern missiles are signs of progress made by a nation and we cannot stop China from doing it. India need not be scared of such missile tests," he told media persons.
The minister's observation comes in the wake of concerns expressed by Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister M Natarajan in Bangalore on Saturday, over the Chinese test.
Using a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile, China claimed success in hitting an old weather satellite about 865 km above the earth on January 11.
The minister, who was on a two-day private visit to Dakshina Kannada district, said the India was not deterred by reports of its partner Russia expressing apprehensions on exporting the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to other countries.
"Russia's concern is that it may reach wrong hands and emerge as a threat to world peace. India is already producing up to 300 km range BrahMos missiles with joint venture with Russia and it has already been inducted into the defence forces. We will continue talks with Russians on export of these missiles to 'friendly' countries," he said.
Replying to another query, the minister said that during the last two years, the rate of air crashes involving defence aircraft had come down. MiG fighters had not been grounded but were being upgraded, he said.
He said Aero India to be held in Bangalore from February 7 to 11 would see more than 400 aviation companies participate in the mega air show. In view of the terrorist threats, precautionary security measures had been taken for the smooth conduct of the event, he said.