India's Agni-V missle. File photo: Xinhua
India announced a test of its long-range nuclear-capable Agni V missile. The missile has a range of over 5,000 kilometers, meaning it could reach China. India apparently is hoping to enter the global intercontinental missile club, despite intercontinental missiles normally having a range of over 8,000 km.
India has moved rapidly in developing missile technology. It successfully launched the Agni IV with a range of 3,500 km last year. Indian public opinion has long seen China as its reference point for military development.
It seems 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 percent in 2012 and the country has again become the largest weapons importer in the world.
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.
Source: Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO), Government of India Graphics: Google/GT
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.
China and India 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.
Their status as newly emerging countries shows the two should cooperate on the international stage. It would be unwise for China and India to seek a balance of power by developing missiles.
The geopolitics of Asia will become more dependent on the nature of Sino-Indian relations. The peace and stability of the region are crucial to both countries. China and India should both take responsibility for maintaining this peace and stability and be wary of external intervention.
China understands the Indian desire to catch up with China. China, as the most appropriate strategic target for India, is 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.
China hopes India will remain calm, as this would be beneficial to both giants.
India postpones missile test
India delayed the test of its first long-range missile Wednesday due to bad weather, but analysts noted that the development of such weaponry demonstrates the country's ambition to become a major world power.
"Due to heavy lightning in the area, the scheduled test flight of Agni-V has been postponed till tomorrow for safety reasons," defense ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar told Reuters late Wednesday.
This is the second delay of the test flight which was originally planned for February.