The article originally appeared on India Today.

Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has threatened India once again, after its sabre-rattling and economic supremacy rants aimed at demeaning the successful test launches of Agni V and Agni IV missiles by India recently. India’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (Agni V) has a range of over 5000 Km while Agni IV has a range of 4000 Km. Both are nuclear capable and can reach China effectively.

This time it is about India’s proposal to sell Akash missiles to Vietnam. India has offered Vietnam ingeniously developed surface-to-air Akash missile system. The system has an interception range of 25 Km to keep an effective check on any incoming hostile aircraft for area defence and deliberations are said to in an advanced stage.

In an editorial titled ‘Indian arms sale to Hanoi disturbing if aimed at China’, the state run newspaper warns India that ‘if the Indian government genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing, it will only create disturbances in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed’.

China has been trying to encircle India by making inroads in its neighbourhood, by offering to develop or developing ports and infrastructure in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives or by reaching out to Nepal and Bangladesh or with its String of Pearls geopolitical theory where it is said that China is developing a network in the Indian Ocean region to encircle India.

Now, of late, if India is realizing the Chinese designs and is pursuing an agenda to answer China in its own geopolitical language by developing bilateral and strategic ties with countries in China’s neighbourhood like Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and even Mongolia, it is a much needed course correction.

If China can do so, why can’t India? If China can sell weapons to Pakistan, why can’t India do so with Vietnam? The world knows that Pakistan’s missile programme is basically a Chinese import. There are reports that Pakistan is going to acquire its first nuclear attack submarine from China. And it will be from the latest generation of the Chinese nuclear attack submarines it is being said. It will be a Shang class submarine capable of firing cruise missiles and comes with six torpedo tubes.

If China can do so then it doesn’t have any right to preach us that ‘India-Vietnam ties should be built for the sake of peace and stability in the region, rather than stirring up troubles or anxiety for others’.

During prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vietnam in September 2016, India and Vietnam upgraded their ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ and before the Akash missile system, India has offered to sell Vietnam BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes. Also, India is training Vietnamese to operate kilo-class submarines and will soon start training Vietnamese fighter pilots for Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

Global Times, the mouth organ of China’s ruling Communist Party, has dismissed India’s missile programme saying ‘India needs to cool its missile fever’.

The Global Times editorial piece writes that ‘India should realize 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.’

The write-up uses some harsh words for India after its successful Agni IV missile test yesterday that has a range of 4000 Km and can reach China. It shows how two back to back missile tests, earlier Agni V with a range of over 5000 Km and now Agni IV, have rattled China. These tests show India’s prowess for its Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) development programme.

When India had test-fired its ICBM Agni V on December 26, China was quick to question India quoting an 18 year old UNSC resolution that seeks that India and Pakistan should shut their ballistic missile development programmes. Reacting on India’s launch, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry had said that ‘the UN Security Council had explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons’.

The editorial piece says that India is treading a path that breaks the United Nations’ protocols, “India has broken the UN’s limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile. New Delhi is no longer satisfied with its nuclear capability and is seeking intercontinental ballistic missiles that can target anywhere in the world and then it can land on an equal footing with the UN Security Council’s five permanent members.”

India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council is another soar point for China and like India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China tries to thwart the Indian efforts here as well.

Though the editorial piece, that we can say conveys the official position of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), speaks on the need of developing rapport between India and China, the tone is both patronizing as well as threatening.

Demeaning India, the editorial says that at present, India’s GDP accounts for about 20 percent of China’s whereas China’s strategic nuclear missiles have long ago realized global coverage, and China’s overall military industrial capacity is much better than that of India.

Threatening India, the editorial says that India knows the cost of posing a nuclear threat to China. It says that China wants to better relations with India ‘but will not sit still if India goes too far’.

The editorial also brings in Pakistan in its sermonic run of commentary and advocates that the world community should treat India and Pakistan equally when it comes to their nuclear development programmes.

Repeating the Chinese rant of maintaining strategic balance in South Asia, the editorial says that these missile tests by India would see counter launches by Pakistan with missiles of longer ranges. Pakistan claims China is its all weather ally and China proves it by its acts time and again, like blocking the Indian proposal at the UN to declare Masood Azhar, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, a designated terrorist, in its most recent show of bonhomie with Pakistan.