'India cut Agni-V range under NATO pressure'
Beijing: Continuing its tirade against the successful launch of Agni-V, Chinese state media accused New Delhi of buckling under NATO pressure to cut down the missile's range from 9000 km to 5000 km.
The state-run Global Times which derided the missile even before it was launched saying that Chinese nuclear power is "stronger and more reliable and India had no chance" to catch up said today in yet another scathing write-up that "India has little to celebrate" as China has raced ahead and outclassed India in development.
"The Manmohan Singh government, because of pressure from NATO member countries, has kept a slow pace with their Integrated Guided Missile Programme (IGMP).
"The Agni-V is deemed to be in its final stage, whereas in fact the IGMP ought to have progressed to develop a range of 9,000 km," it said in the write-up posted on its web edition tonight.
Commenting on Sino-India relations, the paper pointed to an international effort to portray India and China as enemies and said the two countries need to make bridges of friendship that would fail such an effort.
"Althought there is an international effort to paint India and China as enemies and to make the two countries go to war with each other, such an effort will fail.
"The Chinese and Indian people share a long history and culture, and what is needed is more discussion between the two about their economics, education, tourism and culture. We must create so many bridges of friendship that the plans of other countries to make China and India into enemies will fail," it said.
The paper said India and China can together make the Asian continent strong but if divided "all of Asia will remain weak".
The paper said the celebrations over the missile "conceal the inadequacies and slow pace" of the programme, and "hide the fact that successive Indian governments have capitulated to pressure from NATO to restrict the range and power of their launch vehicles", it said.
It said India was embarrassingly behind China in its space programme and also faced a huge vulnerability as over 80 per cent of its critical weapons systems are imported from France, the US, Russia and Israel.
"If these countries cut off supplies or ammunition during a conflict, India would be helpless," it said.