India should not "overly interpret" Beijing's military development or exaggerate concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a state-run Chinese daily said on Monday, days after the Indian Army chief suggested New Delhi carry out counter-encirclement of its "future adversaries".
The article in Global Times, a publication of the ruling Communist Party, said India worries that China was intentionally meddling in India-Pakistan disputes, "utilising the CPEC (which runs through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to grant legitimacy to Islamabad's control over the disputed region."
"India is viewing Beijing and Islamabad as potential threats and is suspicious of Beijing's One Belt and One Road initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)," it said, adding that "India is exaggerating the situation".
"Beijing respects New Delhi's sovereignty concerns, and is willing to mediate in India-Pakistan disputes, on the condition that it accords to the wishes of both India and Pakistan," it said.
The remarks in the Chinese daily came after Gen Bipin Rawat last week said India must have close ties with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan considering the security matrix.
He said such a strategy will create a two-pronged dilemma for Pakistan, and also help tackle issues with the other difficult neighbour China, suggesting New Delhi should "carry out counter-encirclement for our future adversaries."
Referring to his remarks, the article said China advocates peaceful development and it has and will "never seek hegemony in the region."
China's defence budget will rise by about 7 per cent this year, the lowest since 2010 and Beijing's military development is "part of its national construction, and New Delhi should not overly interpret it," it said.
The Indian media suggests that China's military expenditure for 2017, about 1.3 per cent of the GDP, is three times higher than that of India.
"Frankly speaking, even if New Delhi's military spending is boosted to the same level, India still lags behind its northern neighbour in its military capability. For instance, India's development of aircraft carrier is very slow despite its early start," it said.
China has one refurbished aircraft carrier and recently launched a homemade carrier, which was expected to take a few years to operationalise. A third carrier is reportedly under construction.