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China's anti-ship missile not a threat: Navy chief

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Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma. PTI photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Dismissing China's anti-ship missile programme as a threat to Indian warships, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said it would be a difficult task to even spot the vessels in the vast expanse of high seas.

"Targeting ships at high seas is not an easy task or as simple as land warfare," Admiral Verma told reporters here on Wednesday on the sidelines of a seminar on aircraft carriers organised by the National Maritime Foundation here.

"There are hundreds and thousands of ships in the sea at any given time. It is extremely important to spot the ship before targeting it. There are limitations in terms of maritime reconnaissance and long-range searches," Verma said when asked about the threat posed by Chinese Anti-ship Ballistic Missile Programme.

He said it was "a complex problem" to use a conventional missile against a moving target at high seas.

Earlier, addressing the seminar, the Navy chief said aircraft carriers were expensive and there were questions on their affordability and survivability due to their large size while at sea.

"Some even talk about carrying out land-based missile attacks against an aircraft carrier. We must weigh this against the difficulties of targeting a mobile target out at sea," he said, noting that carriers can move 600 nautical miles a day, which translates into one million square nautical miles of ocean area which an adversary has to search.

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