Missile Programme: China Warns India

China has asked India to “cool its missile fever”, saying that if its southern neighbour increases the number of long-range missiles, then Beijing will help Pakistan do the same.
Just a week after India successfully test-fired two Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) – Agni-IV and -V, mouth organ of Chinese Communist Party ‘Global Times’ published an editorial piece that dismissed New Delhi’s missile programme. The article said: “India should realise that owning several missiles does not mean it is a nuclear power. Even though India does become a nuclear power, it will be a long time before it can show off its strength to the world.”
In a rare first, the Chinese daily used harsh words for India, saying: “If the Western countries accept India as a nuclear country and are indifferent to the nuclear race between India and Pakistan, China will not stand out and stick rigidly to those nuclear rules as necessary. At this time, Pakistan should have those privileges in nuclear development that India has.”
The daily further advised India to respect the UN norms by quoting an 18-year-old UN Security Council resolution, which had asked both India and Pakistan to scrap their ballistic missile development programmes. Senior spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that the UNSC “had explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons”. The spokesperson further accused India of breaking the UN’s limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile. She even described India as a warmonger, stressing that New Delhi was seeking intercontinental ballistic missiles that could target anywhere in the world.
Meanwhile, the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi ridiculed the Chinese allegation that India is a warmonger, with a senior External Affairs Ministry official saying that two back to back missile tests by India in the last week of 2016 rattled China. He also asked Global Times to stop publishing self-contradictory articles. According to the official, on the one hand, the editorial said that China was not bothered by India’s testing of missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, on the other hand the piece did sound like Beijing was perturbed by Agni-IV.
The Indian official argued that if India’s GDP accounts for about 20% of China’s (as mentioned in the article), then Beijing should not worry about India’s missile programme. A couple of days ago, outgoing chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha brushed aside Chinese reaction on the test firing of long-range nuclear capable Agni-V missile, saying that India should carry on with its task of building deterrence capability. “One should not talk about someone else doing something unless it is prohibited like nuclear proliferation,” added Air Chief Marshall Raha in an apparent swipe at Beijing.


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