New Delhi: China's new anti-ship ballistic missile, if fully functional, posed a "different category of threat" and certainly requires "a different measure to counter it," Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said on Friday.
He also noted that the Jin class of submarines with its ballistic missile capability and underwater endurance levels has compelled other maritime powers to see what are the Chinese "intentions" with such platforms and weapons.
Addressing his annual press conference, Verma was replying to questions on the two military systems of China's People's Liberation Army (Navy).
"If it is a fully functional system, it does generate quite a different category of threat and certainly requires a different measure to counter it," he said about the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missiles that China has developed.
He said the US Pacific Command's assessment of the missile system was that it is "close" to operationalisation. But its capabilities for deployment at the global level needs to be seen, he added.
Referring to discussions in the strategic affairs and security experts circles, he said it has emerged that the missile's development was prompted by certain events of the mid-1990s when carrier battle groups have dominated the maritime space.
"But fielding this system is, of course, a very complex process. We are talking about a ballistic missile that has to get on to a mobile target. First the missile itself, and then on its re-entry into the atmosphere, its manoeuvrability... secondly, what's the type of surveillance package it requires," he noted.
On the Jin submarines, Verma observed that it is "a very large" vessel with long-range strategic missiles. The advantage, he noted, was that longer the range of the missile, the lesser the need for the platform to transit long distance to use the weapon.
"If you have strategic weapons, one has to see what are your intentions," he said.
The Jin class submarines are said to have capabilities to remain underwater while transiting straits such as Malacca and Sunda. But Verma said: "when you go through straits, you have to see what amount of water is under your keel. So options reduce."