Beijing on Thursday said that India could do "more" to maintain peace and stability and should not do anything "contrary" to the consensus reached between the two countries to maintain peace and stability in border areas, following reports that New Delhi plans to deploy Brahmos missiles along its boundary with China.
"To maintain peace and stability in the China-India border areas is an important consensus reached by the two sides. We hope that the Indian side can do more to benefit peace and stability along the border and in the region, rather than the contrary," Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Col Wu Qian said at a press briefing.
His comments came after reports said the Indian government has sanctioned induction of additional BrahMos supersonic missiles, with steep dive capability and 290 km range, to be deployed in the Eastern sector to ramp up its capabilities along the border with China.
Defence sources in New Delhi had said the government has cleared the fourth BrahMos regiment at a cost of over Rs 4,300 crore. The regiment consists of around 100 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers on 12×12 heavy-duty trucks and a mobile command post, among other hardware and software.
Wu’s remarks came in response to a question over a People's Liberation Army Daily commentary criticising the Indian government's decision to deploy advanced cruise missiles in areas along the India-China border.
Wu also played down threats of countermeasures mentioned by the commentary.
Quoting reports, The PLA Daily commentary said the Indian government has approved the Army's procurement of nearly 100 upgraded-version of Brahmos supersonic missiles that will be deployed in the northeastern region of the country.
"This news has gained widespread attention. India's move to deploy missiles at the national boundary has already exceeded its defence needs and poses a serious threat to Tibet and Yunnan," it said.
"The deployment of Brahmos missile is bound to increase the competition and antagonism in the China-India relations and will have a negative impact on the stability of the region," it said.
"Brahmos supersonic cruise missile has a superior strike capability and is suitable for use in the mountainous terrain of China-India border. The missile has spear-type aerodynamic layout and its body is coated with Indian 'radar absorption coating' which enhances its stealth performance and penetration ability," the commentary written by a PLA expert said.
Also, Brahmos has the capability to skirt anti-missile systems.
"However, Brahmos has several flaws. One, as a tactical missile in high altitude trajectory, Brahmos has a maximum range of only 290 KM. Also, if we consider factors such as the terrain then the effective range reduces to 100 KMs".
"If we consider the above shortcomings than it can be said that the actual impact of Brahmos missile deployment is limited. Because of its short-range capability, the missile cannot pose a threat to regions deep within China's borders," it said.
"If mounted on an aircraft, its combat effectiveness would be weakened. At the same time, in the tough terrain of south Tibet, Brahmos can pose a threat only to large fixed targets", it said.
"It is not difficult to see India's counter-balancing and confrontational thinking behind the deployment of Brahmos missiles. Within India, the 'String of Pearls theory' and 'China threat theory' has become very popular. These only reflect false alarm and a panic state of extreme nervousness," it said.
Responding to PLA Daily’s commentary, the Indian Army made it clear that its decisions will not be influenced by Beijing.
“Our threat perceptions and security concerns are our own, and how we address these by deploying assets on our territory should be no one else's concern,” a top Army source was quoted by NDTV in its report.
Brahmos missile was under test by the Army and last known test of the missile in the Eastern sector was done in May, 2015. The steep-dive attack cruise missile can hit enemy targets hidden in the shadows of mountains.
The Indian Army has already inducted three regiments of BrahMos in its arsenal. All are equipped with Block-III version of the missile.
The land-attack version of BrahMos has been operational in the Indian Army since 2007. The fire-and-forget BrahMos has the capability to take on surface-based targets by flying a combined hi-lo trajectory, thus evading enemy air defence systems. Fire-and-forget missiles do not need further guidance after launch.
BrahMos is a stealth supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land and has been inducted in all the three services.
The BrahMos missile is a two-stage vehicle that has a solid propellant booster and a liquid propellant ram-jet system. Developed jointly with Russia,the missile can be launched from multiple platforms like submarine,ship,aircraft and land based Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL). The missile can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound. It can carry conventional warheads up to 300 kg.