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Updated: August 31, 2009 15:57 IST

Pakistan’s modification of Harpoon missiles anti-Indian, says outgoing Navy Chief

Special Correspondent
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This February 18, 2009 photo shows the U.S. ship The Sullivans anchored off the Kochi coast. The launchers of Harpoon missiles and the covered missile cells are also seen. Photo: Vipin Chandran
The Hindu This February 18, 2009 photo shows the U.S. ship The Sullivans anchored off the Kochi coast. The launchers of Harpoon missiles and the covered missile cells are also seen. Photo: Vipin Chandran

The outgoing Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Monday said Pakistan’s modification of the U.S.-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles was against India’s national interest and New Delhi had drawn Washington’s attention to it.

He said India had been telling the U.S. that its military supplies to Pakistan would not be used just for self-defence, Admiral Mehta, who retired on Monday, told correspondents at a ceremony where he formally handed over charge to the new Chief, Admiral Nirmal Verma.

Admiral Mehta’s remarks came in response to questions on the New York Times report that Pakistan had illegally modified the Harpoon missile enabling it to strike land-based targets.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor, who took over as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, said there were several violations and one case of incursion by a Chinese helicopter during the past few months.

However, he said, while it could be a navigational error the act could not be justified and was taken up at the scheduled border personnel meeting. He also said that the absence of a delineated border with China also led to such incidents.

``When intrusions take place, they are taken up at the regular border personnel meets which happen on an ongoing basis’’, Gen. Kapoor said. He denied any incident of firing along the Sino-Indian border.

The new Navy chief, Admiral Verma, said Indian Navy was capable in countering the growing influence of China in Indian Ocean Region. He said each nation pursues its own interest by showing its presence in international waters and Indian Navy was confident of protecting the country’s maritime interests.

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