China’s new aircraft carrier – pushing the limits

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Chinese Navy's ambitions are visible, and will need to be matched by the Indians', at least in the Indian Ocean region.


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China’s new aircraft carrier – pushing the limits



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  1. Two giants in a deadly embrace? With mounting tension between India and China over issues like the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit and China re-naming six places in Arunachal Pradesh in response, India’s opposition to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through the disputed territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, and the ongoing border dispute between the two countries, there is a fresh reason for India to worry about.
  2. Second Chinese Carrier arrives : China is ready to launch its second naval aircraft carrier soon. The first home-built “Type 001A” “Shandong” (possible name) will give China an edge over India for the first time in the aircraft carrier race. After the commissioning of its new aircraft carrier, China will have two such vessels against India’s one – INS Vikramaditya (which is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier, and part of Indian Navy since 2013. It was built as 'Baku', and commissioned in 1987. It served the Russian Navy as Admiral Gorshkov & was purchased by India in 2004).
  3. The story of INS Vikrant : It was a Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. It was purchased from the British in in 1957, and construction was completed in 1961. Vikrant was commissioned as the first aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy and ensured the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. The ship was decommissioned in January 1997 & then preserved as a museum ship in Mumbai, until 2012. It was scrapped in November 2014 after final clearance from the Supreme Court. The Indian Navy is currently constructing its first home-built carrier, also named INS Vikrant, with the new carrier scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2018.
  4. China’s home-made weapon : The major disadvantage for India is that China has built its own aircraft carrier, whereas India is yet to do so. INS Vikrant of the Indian Navy is merely a redesigned 1980s-era Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov. For India to build its own vessel, it would take still some time.
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  6. A design not too secret : Chinese marine strategies in the West Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean are an open secret. It wants two carrier strike groups in the Indian Ocean and two in the West Pacific Ocean. With its own building capacities, it is possible for China to do so in the near future. It thus, has an edge over India in this field.
  7. Shipbuilding is in their blood : China became the world’s largest shipbuilder in 2010, leaving long-time leader South Korea behind. China built ships with a total deadweight capacity of 65.6 million tons, accounting for 43 percent of the deadweight capacity of ships built in the world.
  8. Indian Ocean – China staking a creeping claim : China’s over-riding maritime ambition in the Indian Ocean is to displace India’s predominance in the Indian Ocean and convert this vast maritime region into a Chinese Ocean  Implicit in the above are not narrow aims of limiting India’s naval ambitions but also the larger game of China’s strategic reduction of India as its prime geopolitical objective. Indian Ocean is also the region in which China intends to play its larger role of emerging as a superpower.
  9. String of Pearls : China made its move in this direction first through the implementation of the “String of Pearls”, which was followed by its active involvement in the anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Thereafter, it wooed Sri Lanka, Maldives and Seychelles to gain naval footholds. And now its maritime Silk Road initiative for a deep-rooted maritime domination strategy. It is getting the active support of Pakistan. China has assigned Pakistan with the task of keeping the Indian Navy’s Western fleet from exercising sea-control of the Arabian Sea by building-up Pakistan’s submarine fleet.
  10. Indian establishment, wake up! The Chinese maritime threat to convert the Indian Ocean into a Chinese Ocean should be a wake-up call for the Indian policy establishment. India needs to provide a fast-track response.
  11. Do check out exams-focussed Confidence and Vocabulary Booster series of learning resources here
  12. Download Resources : PDFs on defence & military and related issues available on Bodhi Resources page here. And, here are some facts and images to help the case better.
  13. Deep Dive : (1) Everything on military - here(2) India's defence preparedness - here(3) India - Pakistan - China issues - here, (4) Paramilitaries and CAPFs in India - here
  14. Bodhi Saar Prashn : a fantastic collection of all quiz questions for your revision - here!



China's second Aircraft Carrier


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Bodhi Saar: China’s new aircraft carrier – pushing the limits
China’s new aircraft carrier – pushing the limits
Chinese Navy's ambitions are visible, and will need to be matched by the Indians', at least in the Indian Ocean region.
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