A state-run newspaper on Monday said India should focus less on expediting the process of building aircraft carriers to contain China in the Indian Ocean and more on its economic development.
"New Delhi should perhaps be less eager to speed up the process of building aircraft carriers in order to counter China's growing sway in the Indian Ocean, and focus more on its economy," an article in the Global Times said.
China on Sunday celebrated 68th anniversary of the establishment of its navy amid massive expansion of its fleet.
A fleet of three Chinese naval ships left Shanghai port for a friendly visit to more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
“With the expansion of foreign trade, as well as China’s ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative, the Chinese navy has taken on a new mission, which is to protect the country’s overseas interests,” a report in the daily, known for its strident nationalistic values, said.
As a consequence, China’s military strategy for the navy has changed and it must increase its presence overseas to meet the new requirements, military expert Song Zhongping was quoted as saying by the report.
As a signature achievement of the navy, the Liaoning aircraft carrier built from an empty hull of a former Soviet ship has finished its blue sea training, he said.
While the Chinese navy flexed muscle with massive expansion of overseas with new “logistic” based in Gwadar in Pakistan and Djibouti in the Indian Ocean, the Chinese official media sought to project India deploying aircraft carriers decades ahead of China in a negative light.
“As the world’s second-largest economy, China is now capable of building a strong navy to safeguard the security of strategic maritime channels. China’s construction of its first aircraft carrier is a result of economic development,” the report said.
“The country would have finished work on it several years ago if Beijing had simply wanted to engage in an arms race to have more influence in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions,” the article said in defence of China deploying its first aircraft carrier in 1912.
“India itself could be taken as a negative example for a build-up of aircraft carriers,” it said.