India’s security expansion not targeted at China
Global Times | April 23, 2012 19:45
By Global Times
India has just successfully tested the 5,000-kilometer-range Agni-V missile, further strengthening its security.
In early April, the Indian Defence Minister A.K. Anthony commissioned the Russian origin 8,000-ton Akula II-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, the INS Chakra, in eastern port of Visakhapatnam. This was leased from Russia at a cost of about $1 billion and is meant to patrol the seas, and track and hunt enemy submarines in wartime and be used for surveillance in peacetime.
These two pieces of news, plus a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report in March saying that India is now the world's largest arms importer, have made many, especially Chinese military analysts, worry that India is sending a strong deterrent signal to China.
Some observers are saying that the Agni-V missile can have Beijing within its reach and is designed to send a strong deterrent signal to China. But since both countries follow a No First Use nuclear doctrine, if China does not use nuclear weapons against India, then the Agni-V will not be used by India against China in a nuclear war. In the past four strategic dialogues at the foreign secretary level between India and China, India brought out proposals for "de-targeting." It does not want to target China with nuclear warheads.
Purely from a military perspective, India's commission of nuclear-powered attack submarine is not aimed at China either. The submarine will carry Klub-class cruise missiles and not nuclear missiles. Hence it is not meant to add strategic deterrence to the Indian Navy. As India, like China, follows No First Use, the counter-strike or second strike response needs to be robust and credible.
Let's then look at India's arms purchasing, which is gaining lots of attention. With sales to India now accounting for 10 percent of all arms purchases during the past five years, there are views that India's "military modernization" comes through buying and renting weapons from other countries, and is aimed at resisting China's rise.
It is true that India is recently able to purchase a lot of conventional weapons from several countries. While China is the target of an arms embargo by the US and Europe, they have no problems selling to India.
However, due to corruption scandals or delays in procurement, India was unable to close many arms deals in the 1980s or 1990s, and several were delayed. That's why the recent purchases by India appear to be overwhelming.
India also spends less on indigenous research and development compared to China. To enhance its indigenous capabilities, India has recently been insisting on either local joint design or license manufacturing agreements with prospective arms sellers. India has also cancelled several arms purchases from the US or other countries.
Western media has been hyping of the military confrontation between China and India. This mentality has much clout. The Western media does not see Indian military modernization as part of occupying and expanding territories, while in the case of China, its military modernization is seen as expanding its territorial claims. The recent controversy about the South China Sea islands is a case in point.
In the foreseeable future, Sino-Indian relations will not be severely troubled. While there are differences between India and China on a number of issues, both are also engaged in mutually beneficial cooperation and participation in multilateral forums.
There will not be a conventional or nuclear war between the two countries. As both are nuclear powers, it is difficult to imagine a war between the two, and both are very clear that escalation from one level to the other can be very difficult to predict. India and China have lots of common interests. The two should understand the mainstream in their ties, and should not be over-influenced by either Western instigation or excessive speculations.
This article was compiled by Global Times reporter Wang Wenwen based on an interview with Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor from School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.firstname.lastname@example.org