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India concerned over China’s ASBM programme: Navy Chief

The Anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM).

NEW DELHI (PTI): India on Thursday said China's programme for developing an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is a matter of concern and that it needed to look at its deployment and put in place a mechanism to counter it.

"As far as a weapon like ASBM is concerned, if it is operationally fielded, certainly it is a matter of concern," Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said at a press conference here on being asked about his assessment of China's programme in this regard.

However, he said, India had to watch for the areas that these ASBMs would be operationally fielded and come out with an answer for this threat to its warships, particularly the two Carrier Battle Groups (CBGs) it plans to have in the future.

Carrier Battle Groups are a warship formation with an aircraft carrier as its centerpiece and are power demonstrators. But ASBMs are projected as weapons that could make CBGs look like sitting ducks, though the Indian Navy itself does not believe it to be so.

"The areas in which it (ASBM) will be deployed in our area of operation are something we need to look at. And certainly we need to have something in place with respect to ASBM-type of weapon and we will put it in place," he said.

Verma said the Navy's present plans was for having two CBGs for the western and eastern seaboards in the near future for which it was building an indigenous aircraft carrier to join the INS Vikramaditya, the erstwhile Russian Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, to form the two CBGs.

But the force levels would not be restricted to the two CBGs.

"Our present plans are basically for two CBGs and not entirely restricted to them. Because we have smaller groups for different tasks," he said.

Asked about China's venture into the Indian Ocean Region, Verma said since both India and China's economies were growing, there was a need for the protection of the sea lanes of communication.

"The feeling of protecting the sea lanes is there in both countries. But, as far as Indian Navy is concerned, we keep the security scenario in mind before making our plans," he said.

On China building ports for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the Navy Chief said there were several Indian Ocean countries that sought help for building their infrastructure and that some or the other bigger nations in the region would certainly provide that help.

He said it was no different with Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.

But, he said, there was a huge difference between building a port and using them for their own military or economic purposes by these foreign powers.

"And it has been amply made clear by these countries that someone is building the port and not using them," he added.


China  India  ASBM  missile  

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