Thursday, September 17, 2009
FUTURE CONFLICT ZONES WITH CHINA
Nestled between India and China at an altitude of 14,500 feet, and 4 hours bone shaking drive from Leh, lies Pangong Lake (also known as Lukung Lake). 45 kms of this lake lies within Indian territory while the remaining 90 kms lies within China.
Things deteriorated in 1999 after China, taking advantage of the Indian Army’s buildup in Kargil, built a 5-km permanent track into Indian territory along the lake.
The Chinese have led incursions into India because they know that they can – and can get away with it. It’s as simple as that. Our politicians refuse to acknowledge even today the Chinese threat. Reminds one of the 1962 debacle when Krishna Menon ordered COFFEE PERCOLATORS to be made in ARMS FACTORY – thinking that the Chinese aggression is a myth, only to be proved wrong at a catastrophic cost to the country.
In July 2008, an Indian motorboat on regular patrolling duty along the perceived border in the lake, was surrounded by three Chinese naval crafts. Things started turning tense as the Chinese crafts approached the Indian boat (which was sufficiently armed with two machine guns and a 20 -member contingent). The situation calmed down only after the quick thinking operator swung around the larger Indian boat in circles to disperse the Chinese crafts.
The Chinese Navy operates close to 22 armed patrol boats in the lake — mostly smaller vessels seating five to seven soldiers. India, on the other hand, has two patrol boats that are operated by the Army. While these boats are bigger — carrying up to 21 soldiers — the numeric superiority that China enjoys is undeniable.
Stuck in the corridors of South Block is a proposal to ferry in an additional 10-12 boats for better patrolling of the lake.
BACK TO 1962: The Govt of India, with Krishna Menon as Defence Minister, was least interested in defence preparedness. Ordnance factories were manufacturing coffee percolators and toasters, because they had “extra spare capacity”. But as they all shouted in Parliament, “ ------every inch of our land will be defended to the last man.” With what?
The analysts from Jane’s Information Group, believe that the Chinese Communist Party can only continue to rule the country if it maintains economic growth at more than 10 per cent. It is already investing heavily in Africa for food and natural resources but this could lead to a CONFLICT WITH INDIA with the trade route that crosses the Indian Ocean.
Are we ready for this future conflict?
China, historically has been a land power, barring the dynasty of Zeng He in 15th century, when China had famed treasure fleets. Then, it was more for explorations rather than expansions or even guarding any trade lanes. As threat of invasion from north increased, China quickly abandoned its ocean going enterprises – considering them to be expensive.
However 21st century is panning out quite the opposite. China has found itself increasingly dependant on resources and markets accessible only via maritime routes. Where US and Japan are dominant naval powers, China is stepping up its naval capabilities quite dramatically. Chinese navy is seeking to project powers not only throughout East and South China seas but also to Indian Ocean basin and beyond, to West Africa and Latin America.
By 2015 China is expected to have six Jin-class submarines capable of firing the JL2 ballistic nuclear missile that could threaten both the western and eastern American seaboards acting as deterrent to any US intervention if Taiwan or other areas erupted in conflict.
China’s nuclear attack submarine force is expanding “quite considerably” with six T93 hunter killers and more than a dozen Kilo class boats.
Fast attack craft, each carrying eight anti-ship missiles, are to increase from 40 to 100 giving the navy “a considerable capability. There had been a major build up of assault ships including 30 large tank landing craft that would allow long range operations.
2009 – Chinese navy pilots will begin training for aircraft carrier operations, that are expected to become operational early next decade.
ARE WE READY FOR THIS CHINA .... CLEARLY BENT ON CHANGING GEO-STRATEGIC SHIFTS AROUND INDIA.