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Harpoon modification poses danger of proliferation: Navy Chief

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A file photo of Admiral Sureesh Mehta

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Navy on Monday said Pakistan's illegal modification of US-supplied anti-ship Harpoon missiles to strike land-based targets was against "India's interest" and vowed to blunt such threats.

This shows the "danger of proliferation and we have been telling this from time to time," Admiral Mehta told reporters soon after handing over the baton to his successor Admiral Nirmal Verma here.

"This has nothing to do with (Pakistan's) self defence and it is against Indian interest," Mehta said.

He, however, said "Harpoon cannot be changed too much and Pakistan will need some time to do the alteration on the missile to strike land targets."

Referring to Indo-Russian BrahMos joint missile venture, Mehta said it was first developed as a land attack cruise missile and now it is being modified as a ship-based weapon.

Admiral Verma, who was asked about the US charge against Pakistan about Harpoon modification, said the Navy's endeavour would be to ensure nobody came within the striking distance of India and launch such missiles.

"Our endeavour during maritime operations is to ensure that no body comes within a (striking) distance and launches such missiles," he said.

On whether India was concerned over Pakistan modifying Harpoons, Admiral Verma said, "We should have confidence in our armed forces. They are equipped, trained and have tactics to counter any threat."

Referring to the maritime capabilities perspective plan of the Navy, he said, "Threats will be there. We have to take care of them and counter them."

On Admiral Mehta's comments regarding India not capable of matching China force-by-force, Verma said it was one way of looking at force level of the two countries.

However, he said, Mehta has already clarified his comments.

"What we should look at is our capability. Whatever we have is to counter the threats and take care of our maritime interest. We have to be capable of countering the threats," he said.

Referring to the increasing Chinese presence in the Indian ocean, the new Navy Chief said every country has the right to pursue its interest in international waters.

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