Islamabad: The commissioning of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya into the Indian Navy from Russia shows how addicted the Indian establishment is to outmoded thinking, a Pakistani daily said in an editorial Monday.
The Nation`s editorial, titled `More to defence than arms`, said India should "have been thinking about whether the billion people of India, the vast majority living in crushing poverty, can afford such a grandiose project".
INS Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy`s biggest warship which will significantly enhance its reach and capability, was commissioned Nov 16 by India`s Defence Minister A.K. Antony at the Sevmash shipyard in Russia`s Severodvinsk city.
The 44,500-tonne aircraft carrier (originally Admiral Gorshkov) was completely refurbished to suit the needs of the Indian Navy and is expected to project India`s maritime power far beyond its shores.
Terming the takeover as a move aimed at India`s 2014 general elections, the editorial said: "Perhaps the timing, just before the Indian election, may have been on the mind of Indian Defence Minister A.K. Anthony when he attended the takeover ceremony at the Arctic port of Severodvinsk with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin."
It added that India needed to ask itself whether it could afford to maintain the aircraft carrier, which was also being described as a game changer in the naval circles.
"India`s pretensions to great power status make it want aircraft carriers to allow it to dominate the Indian Ocean, but it needs to ask itself whether it can afford the expense," the editorial said.
"It should note the example of Russia itself, which could not afford the upkeep of the Gorshkov after the USSR collapsed," it added.
The Nation`s editorial also said such inductions spark arms race and should be avoided.
"India should also be aware that such inductions merely spark off an arms race, and should be avoided," it said.
"Pakistan, for example, has long deployed the Harpoon anti-ship missile. It also has a large enough submarine fleet to get past any submarine pack India can launch to protect the Vikramaditya, and take a shot at it."
"The whole project shows how addicted is the Indian establishment, which includes its armed forces, to outmoded thinking," the daily said.
"However, instead of festooning itself with the trappings of a `great power`, it would be better if they devoted themselves to lifting their benighted masses of poverty."