No arms race between China, India: Chinese media

Beijing, Aug 13 (IANS) There is no arms race between New Delhi and Beijing but India launching an aircraft carrier provides China with a favourable international opinion environment for development of its own advanced armaments, said China's state-run media which described India as "a regional heavyweight".

"India is moving faster in terms of developing armaments such as aircraft carriers... this provides China with a more favourable international opinion environment in terms of the development of its own advanced armaments," said an article in the Global Times Tuesday, a day after INS Vikrant, India's first indigenous aircraft carrier and that displaces 37,500-tonnes, was launched in Kerala's Kochi city.

Xinhua news agency noted that India "already a regional heavyweight, has always held the dream of becoming a global power".

State-run Global Times said that the waves caused by India's aircraft carrier launch "haven't been as sensational as those caused by Japan's light carrier the Izumo among Chinese" and pointed out that "India has adopted a different attitude than Japan toward territorial disputes with China".

The daily added that India's "overall national strength lags behind that of China. Therefore, China perceives Japan rather than India as its biggest neighbouring threat".

It assured: "...there is no arms race between China and India."

The article exhorted China to speed up its construction of domestic aircraft carriers.

"India's actions remind us that the strategic significance of developing aircraft carriers in Asia is not declining. Rather, they are one of the most effective strategic tools in maintaining national maritime interests. The earlier China establishes its own aircraft carrier capabilities, the earlier it will gain the strategic initiative.

"We need not worry that the 'China threat' theory may gain ground with the proliferation of aircraft carriers. Past experiences have taught us that this theory can do little harm to China," it said.

The daily noted that "the strategic deterrence provided by aircraft carriers is still significant".

"China is a latecomer among big powers in terms of developing domestic aircraft carriers," it said and rued: "Even India has moved ahead of us."

China has acquired technologies relating to nuclear weapons, missiles and nuclear-powered submarines, though with limited scales. China has proved itself as a defensive country, strategically speaking.

Xinhua said in a commentary that pundits obsessed with geopolitical rivalry wasted no time in hyping the Indian feat as a threat to China, fanning speculations the two Asian neighbours would slide deeper into an arms race aimed at regional supremacy.

"However, such conflict-obsessed fear-mongers have apparently ignored the larger picture. For starters, China and India, the world's top two developing countries, have vast interests in common.

"It is true India, already a regional heavyweight, has always held the dream of becoming a global power. It has been the world's largest importer of weapons over the past few years," it said.

The commentary said that "normal buildup of defence capabilities is no cause of worry".

"China and India are important trading partners, and they hold identical or similar stances on a wide range of regional and global affairs. They have also recognized the world is large enough to accommodate the development of both of them," it said.

"China and India should have the vision to look beyond slanted interpretations and stick to the right path of cooperation. With the Asia-Pacific region gaining more weight in the global landscape, their cooperation is particularly necessary.

"Joining hands, they can make more contribution to the peace and prosperity of not only the region but also the world at large," the commentary added.