China urged India to exercise extreme caution in backing the planned US National Missile Defence (NMD) system, the Statesman newspaper reported Sunday.
The paper quoted Zhou Gang, the Chinese ambassador to New Delhi, as saying that India might have ignored certain realities in responding positively to the controversial project without analysing it.
"Peace loving countries and people should have an understanding of the NMD's dangers. We oppose it because it promotes strategic imbalances ... and domination of world politics," Zhou said.
However, the Chinese ambassador said India's positive response to the NMD system "would not come in the way" of improving bilateral ties between India and China.
New Delhi's official stance on the project, designed to protect the US from missile attacks by what Washington considers "rogue states", has been difficult to read.
The Indian government first gave the impression of endorsing the idea within hours of US President George W. Bush's announcement of the proposal to set up a US$60 billion NMD, leading to an eventual break from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972.
However, 48 hours later at a joint press conference with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh took a different line, warning Washington against any attempt to disturb existing arms control mechanisms.
India's traditional ally, Russia, rejected Washington's arguments for the NMD project, but the US side pledged to continue efforts to win over Russian critics
(China Daily 05/20/2001)