Aug 21 2013, 6:10am CDT | by IANS
"The launch of India's home-built aircraft carrier is indeed worth celebrating, because it marks a firm stride toward the indigenization of arms," Liu Zongyi, assistant research fellow at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies, Shanghai Institute for International Studies, wrote in an article in the Global Times Wednesday.
"The triumphant launch of the hull demonstrated India's progress in building giant surface carriers."
According to the article, the launch of INS Vikrant also showed that India has made progress in localising arms production.
"Two days before the launch of the aircraft carrier, India announced the activation of the reactor on its domestically built nuclear submarine INS Arihant. The two pieces of news were released in turn. While helping boost the ruling Congress Party's election chances next year, they do mark India's achievements in localising arms production," the article stated.
While referring to some Chinese scholars' remarks that India was yet to grasp the key technologies of the carrier, the writer stated that "it is also a fact that many countries are supporting India in developing advanced weaponry, not only for profit but also to balance China's power".
While stating that India is well aware of the intention of the Western countries, the article stated that some politicians and media outlets in India "deliberately stress the role of India's military buildup in containing China so as to please those traditional powers".
However, it added that a defensive carrier like INS Vikrant would not cause drastic changes in the Asia-Pacific strategic scenario, but it did raise questions.
"Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once pointed out that no genuine Asia-Pacific century or Asian century can come until China, India and other neighboring countries are developed. According to Deng, such development mainly refers to economic growth and cooperation. Arms races and regional tensions will destroy these bright prospects," Liu wrote.
According to the article, China's rise is more an economic one, while India's rise is "more prominently in the military sphere".
Citing a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report that said India has been the largest weapons importer since 2011, the article questioned the necessity of such a military build-up in a country with 40 percent of its population living in poverty and "with insufficient infrastructure acting as a bottleneck in economic development".
"China has no intention to provoke an arms race. But China's national and overseas interests have been sabotaged from time to time due to changes in its surrounding areas. And there are voices calling for cutting off channels for China's overseas trade and energy to curb the Asian power," the Global Times article stated.
It concluded by stating that peace in the Asia-Pacific must be guaranteed by military balance.
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