Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chinese Naval threat looms over India

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta raised the issue of threat posed by Chinese Navy to the Indian national security. He said that China would certainly be Indian Navy's primary challenges in the years ahead. Over the last two decades with its economic boom China has heavily invested on its military. The country that already boasts of having the largest land army in the world now has the third largest navy in the world.

Reading between the lines of Admiral Mehta's statement one thing is clear Indian Navy's greatest threat is not Pakistan any more it is China. The economic race for supremacy between the two Asian neighbours has led to an obsession for military might especially across the Great Wall. China sees India as its biggest economic threat. It has used Pakistan as a neutralising factor arming them with basaltic missiles and even helping them with their nuclear programme.

Over the last decade or so Beijing has been trying to increase the sphere of influence of its Navy in India's immediate neighbourhood. It already plans to set up naval bases in Malayan peninsular which will pose a direct threat to the Indian Navy in Bay of Bengal. It will also give the Chinese direct access to the Indian Ocean. China also extended military support to the Sri Lankan army in its fight against the LTTE causing worry among Indian military commanders.

Going by sheer numbers Indian Navy stands no comparison to the Chinese Navy. On headcount the Chinese Navy stands at 250000 personnel compared 55000 of the Indian Navy. They have three aircraft carrier compared to one India has. The number of destroyers and frigates 21 and 42 as compared to 8 and 16 on the Indian side. The submarines have even a poorer ratio with Chinese having 68 as compared to 8 on the Indian side.

Chinese official defence budget stands at $40 billion but it is estimated that Red Dragon spends between $70 billion to $200 billion on defence production and purchase annually. Indian defence budget which stands at $20 billion is no match to China. To add to our woes we share borders with countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh promoting terrorism in India and much of out defence budget is utilised in the counter insurgency process.

This perhaps justifies India's bow down diplomacy with China. India would be foolish if its went along competing with China considering the size of its economy, infrastructure and military spending. Pakistan serves as an example in this regard. Their obsession to militarily compete with India led to the downfall in their economy. As Admiral Mehta put it cooperation rather than conflict is the way to deal with China.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP