Home Navy shipbuilding budget The Chinese Navy is planning ahead. India’s approach does not match,...

The Chinese Navy is planning ahead. India’s approach does not match, above the sea or below

(Representative image) File image of INS Vikramaditya | Indian Navy

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NOTChief Admiral Avy Karambir Singh ordered the fourth of the Scorpene-class submarines – INS Vela – on Thursday. A few days ago, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh commanded the first Visakhapatnam-class destroyer. It is undeniable that the commissioning of these two ships in the Indian Navy is a boost to the maritime force as it gives a boost to India’s ability and firepower to counter threats, both above and below the water.

The point is, the only area where China can feel Indian military pressure is the maritime front. At least for the moment. The best India can manage to pull China off on the ground is a dead end. And a stalemate is not to the advantage of India, but of China.

As I previously reported, Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, said last week that 39 submarines and surface ships were under construction at various Indian shipyards. , in addition to the two frigates being built for the Indian Navy in Russia. He also said that the Navy, which currently has around 139 ships, aims to meet its target of 170 ships over the next few years.

While this is good news, we need to go beyond what is being said and look at where India stands in terms of military modernization, especially compared to China, which aims to dominate not only the region but also the world.

Read also : India stumbled as China expanded its navy. Now embracing the West is the only option

Chinese Navy is planning a lot in advance

One of the main goals of China’s military build-up is its navy. The second, of course, is its missile technology. The maritime front is the key to the future, and China is well aware of this. The People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) Navy is the fastest growing maritime force in the world.

Former naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba (retired) said in 2019 that no navy has grown as rapidly in the past 200 years as the Chinese navy. He also said China had added 80 new ships in the past five years, a surprising rate of military build-up, which the United States called a “threat.”

As an editorial in Commercial standard Noted, India has only ordered 1-2 capital warships in each of the past five years – not enough to even replace the retiring warships.

It will be safe to note that Chinese shipbuilding is focusing on a larger fleet of large destroyers, amphibious warships and aircraft carriers. The recently released US Department of Defense report on China’s military capabilities notes that PLAN has the world’s largest navy digitally with an overall combat strength of around 355 ships and submarines, of which around 145 are large. surface fighters.

From 2020 the PLAN is largely made up of modern multirole platforms and in the short term, the PLAN will have the capacity to conduct long-range precision strikes against land targets from its submarines and aircraft. its surface fighters using land attack cruise missiles. , improving in particular the capacities of projection of world power of China.

“The PRC is improving its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities and skills to protect PLAN aircraft carriers and missile-launching submarines,” the US report added.

It is important to understand the scale of Chinese shipbuilding tactics and prowess.

While India’s last four Visakhapatnam-class ships measure 163 meters long, 17 meters wide, with a displacement of 7,400 tons, China has already moved from its 7,500-ton ships to massive class destroyers. 055 Renhai of 13,000 tons. .

Moreover, the scale of China’s military production and approach is completely opposite to that of India.

While India chooses a limited number of ships of the same class (Project 15B involves only four Visakhapatnam-class destroyers), China chooses a larger number of ships (at least a dozen) before moving on to the next one. , modernized and more voluminous. versions. This not only allows production to stabilize and reduce costs, but also increases the scale and capacity of shipbuilding.

As I write these lines, China is set to launch its third aircraft carrier, which will have catapult technology for takeoff rather than the traditional style of ski jumping, even as India questions whether it wishes or not to have a third aircraft carrier. It is estimated that China could end up operating six aircraft carriers by 2030.

Read also : India must focus on China’s new “arms race” and not get carried away by Gogra’s disengagement

The target of 170 ships by India is actually a reduction

While one of the headlines of the Indian Navy Vice Chief’s press conference was “Indian Navy’s Plan to Become a 170-Ship Force on Track”, it will again be prudent to remember. that it is in fact a downscaling.

In 2019, the Navy reworked its goal of having a fleet of 200 vessels by 2027 due to an acute multi-year financial crisis and brought its number down to 170.

While China has focused on its naval strengthening, in the case of India, the navy’s share of the defense budget has increased from 18% in 2012-13 to 13% in 2019-2020, as underlined the current admiral in chief of the navy Karambir. Singh in 2019.

The 2021-22 budget is no different as the Navy continues to falter under the pressure of financial constraints.

I’m not going into a real comparison of the numbers between India and China when it comes to destroyers, corvettes and submarines. This is too depressing because PLAN far exceeds the Indian Navy and a simple google search will give you the results.

Yes, there is an argument that while PLAN may have the numbers, it is not yet fully experienced in operating such fleets or fighting a real war at sea, but it is only a matter of time. before he does.

What is needed is a targeted approach to step up India’s naval prowess to provide at least a minimum of credible deterrence to China, which seeks to counter the United States and does not consider India. as an equal, economically and militarily.

The author tweets @sneheshphilip. Opinions are personal.

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