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Beijing responds calmly to India missile test

The Chinese government has underscored its desire for cooperation with India, rather than an arms race.

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The Hindustan Times reports that CCTV, a Chinese TV station, emphasized that it would take years for India to "operationalize" the Agni-V because it lacked a high-precision guidance system for the missile or the ability to transport it.

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Indeed, several Indian defense analysts told Agence France-Presse that while India joined an elite club with yesterday's launch, it indicates less about India's military progress than many think because the capability to launch one rocket is very different than the capability to use them defensively. 

“We are still way behind China. In terms of missile numbers, range and quality, they are way ahead of us,” said C Raja Mohan, a security analyst and senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research, a policy think tank in Delhi.

Mohan also argued that there was too much focus on “demonstration” launches, which only proved that India’s missile policy was led by the scientific community rather than the government and military bureaucracy.

“We can all wrap ourselves in the flag today, but there’s a dearth of real strategy on how to actually deploy missile technology,” he said.

Rahul Bedi, a global security analyst, told AFP that India's political leadership doesn't understand how to capitalize on the country's scientific breakthroughs and how to use them strategically.

The Agni-V requires several more tests before production can begin and it can be added to India's arsenal, and that is unlikely to happen before 2014, or even 2015.

Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, took the floor at the United Nations Security Council yesterday to express his country's support for further non-proliferation cooperation, the Hindustan Times reports.

"China believes to maintain international peace and stability, to realize general security in the world, we must uphold a new security concept based on mutual trust, benefit, equality, and coordination...," he said.
 
"We must consolidate international nuclear non-proliferation mechanisms, fully respect the rights of countries to peaceful use of nuclear energy and avoid double standards," he said.

"At the same time, we must adhere to scientific and rational concepts of nuclear security, strengthen capacity building in this regard and deepen international communication and cooperation and enhance global nuclear security levels and realize the common goal of general nuclear security."

The Associated Press notes that the international community's low-key response to India's missile launch is particularly notable because it came a week after world powers sharply condemned North Korea for a rocket launch of its own. The opposing reactions "show how the world has grown to accept India as a responsible and stable nuclear power," according to AP.

When India first tested a nuclear bomb in 1974, the US put it under sanctions for 25 years. It lifted those sanctions last decade, and in 2008 effectively recognized India as a nuclear power, according to AP. 

“It’s not the spear, but who holds the spear that matters,” said Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst in India. “North Korea is a condemned nation. It’s a pariah country. Its record of breaking nuclear agreements is well known. India has emerged in that sense as a fairly responsible country.” 

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