Months of clashes at the Himalayan border between India and China have dramatically increased tensions.
However, increasing competition between the two major powers of Asia is likely to develop in the Indian Ocean as well.
The Chinese navy is competent and growing, and India is trying to catch up.
Last year, a large-scale clash between Chinese and Indian troops along the disputed Indian-Chinese border killed 20 Indians and at least four Chinese soldiers.
The medieval battles in the Himalayas have shown that national conflicts are entering a new stage of fierceness.
“China is undoubtedly incorporating an ever-increasing factor in India’s defense strategy today,” Timothy Heath, a senior international and defense researcher at Rand Corporation’s think tank, told Insider. It was.
“Given its importance to China, it’s clear that China is prioritizing the need for safety on the Maritime Silk Road,” Heath said. “That is, India needs to be prepared for situations where China may be involved.”
However, India’s dominance in its own waters is not guaranteed.The Indian Navy has some advanced capabilities, but the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Pretty big And more sophisticated.
Now that rivalry has entered a new stage, India is trying to catch up.
More than numbers at sea
The Indian Navy is neither small nor weak. Its main combatants include 10 destroyers, 13 frigates, 17 submarines and 1 aircraft carrier.
Some Indian ships are equipped with state-of-the-art vertical launch systems, equipped with Russian and Israeli anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.Indian Navy BrahMos Supersonic missiles are jointly designed by India and Russia, one of the fastest missiles in the world.
Two of India’s submarines are equipped with nuclear power. One is an attack submarine (SSN) lent by Russia, and the other is Arihant class Ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) designed and built domestically-the first non-permanent member of the UN Security Council SSBN.
India Are expected A second Arihant SSBN and a second aircraft carrier (also designed and built domestically) will be commissioned later this year. However, the Indian Navy is by far the largest in number than the PLA Navy.
Chinese ships are “mostly made up of state-of-the-art multifunctional platforms with advanced anti-ship, anti-aircraft, anti-submarine weapons and sensors.” 2020 Pentagon Report..
In comparison, India “is still far behind China in developing warships,” Heath said. “The Chinese are certainly developing some very impressive platforms, and the Indians are really catching up.”
The main battleship of the Indian Navy is the PLA Navy South Sea Fleet It owns 11 destroyers, 19 frigates, 22 submarines (including 2 SSNs and 4 SSBNs), and 1 aircraft carrier. The Chinese Navy, now the largest navy in the world, can pull in more ships from the other two fleets.
Two more Arihant-class SSBNs are in production and will join the fleet by 2025. S5 class Is also being planned.
The third aircraft carrier, INS Vishal, is planned to replace the aging INS Vikramaditya. A new aircraft carrier that is not scheduled to be completed by 2030 May be based on A large aircraft carrier of the Queen Elizabeth class in the United Kingdom.
Seven new Nilgiri class Stealth frigates are also under construction, and four Admiral Grigolovic-class frigates are under construction. Two were built by Russia and two by India. is expected Join the Indian Navy by the end of the decade.
Chinese “pearl necklace”
In India, there is little doubt that a new ship is needed. China is relatively far from the Indian Ocean, but is stepping up its activities there.
Over the past few years, China has taken control of China’s network of “pearl threads,” a port in the Indian Ocean that may support the PLA Navy.
“People have been theorizing so-called pearl threads for years,” Heath said. “In fact, some evidence is beginning to be seen that the Chinese are doing something along these lines.”
China already Djibouti military baseHowever, other “pearls” seem to be primarily intended for private use.
This does not mean that these facilities cannot be used to assist PLAN vessels.Many Chinese ships and submarines Already docked Refuel and refuel in Sri Lanka.Since then, Sri Lanka has Rejected Due to India’s concerns, China requested a visit to another warship port.
“Chinese aren’t interested in building a full-fledged base with the US model,” Heath said. “These are facilities that primarily provide refueling, repair, and replenishment for passing warships.”
India has several advantages over China. Because this area is its backyard, it can always bring more to threatening Chinese vessels such as land aircraft and anti-ship missiles.
India also has its own overseas office.It Set up Radar stations for maritime surveillance in Sri Lanka, Seychelles and Mauritius.that is Under construction Facilities on the northern island of Agaléga in Mauritius, and It is pursuing Military installations elsewhere in the area.
India also controls the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Strategically important island Indian Ocean side of the Straits of Malacca. India is strengthening its military presence there. put forward Make a presence in partner countries. (US Navy pa commander. Already refueled There. )
Despite the new government attention, the Indian Navy still has a way. Most of the new vessels and submarines will not be fully operational until the end of the decade at the earliest, and their budget is still less than the budget of the Indian Army and Air Force.
The Indian Navy will still have to compete with considerable attention Focused on the Indian borderNew Delhi must also be concerned about its rival Pakistan, which has received almost exclusive attention since independence.
However, there is also a Navy element in the conflict with Pakistan. Pakistani terrorists who carried out the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks Arrived by seaAnd China’s military partner Islamabad Its modernization Own Navy, Including Chinese submarines and drones.
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