China's vulnerability in Malacca Strait

Discussion in 'China' started by jayadev, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. jayadev

    jayadev Founding Member

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    Toronto, ON, Canada, — The Strait of Malacca is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. It is the route that China-bound oil shipments take. All India must do to prevent a Chinese invasion of its northeast or Kashmir is to block this route. With its naval build-up of the last 10 years, and especially its recently announced purchases, India could do this.
    India has U.S.-made submarine hunter-killer planes – Boeing P-8s equipped with Harpoon missiles – one Russian and one Indian-made aircraft carrier, French Scorpene attack submarines and an Indian-built nuclear submarine with missiles reaching hundreds of miles. It can arm its Russian and Indian-made destroyers and frigates with Brahmos sea-denial missiles, and has shore-based naval attack capability. The Chinese could not cope with this formidable force.

    Add to this India’s growing network-centric capability and the Chinese are completely outmaneuvered.

    If China put together a large force to neutralize India at the western end of the Strait of Malacca, it would weaken its home naval defenses in the South China Sea. Hence, China will continue to posture and send its navy on Indian Ocean cruises – but a formidable opposition is already building.

    Moving into the Indian Ocean prematurely was a wrong move on China’s part. It alerted India and prompted a defensive build-up to counter China’s advances. China’s recent deployment of naval destroyers in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy missions revealed its newly acquired naval capability. An incident concocted by the Chinese press, in which an Indian Kilo-class submarine allegedly confronted a Chinese Aegis-class ship in the Gulf of Somalia, indicated China’s deep concerns about the growing prowess of the Indian Navy.

    All China’s moves in the Indian Ocean – such as acquiring Coco Island from Myanmar and building up Gawadar Naval base in Pakistan – have been to intimidate India. India got the message and has begun building up its own naval forces. Its naval base in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, gives India a big advantage.

    China’s offensive naval capability away from home has grown exponentially with the acquisition of nuclear submarines. It is refitting a Russian and a homemade aircraft carrier, which may be ready in seven years. Surveillance capability from Coco Island off the Myanmar coast has also enhanced its effectiveness.

    Chins has four Sovremenny-class destroyers purchased from the Russians and delivered in 2000 and 2006. These are its most potent warships. Originally designed by the Soviets to attack U.S. naval flotillas on the high seas, the Moskit anti-ship missile is a very potent weapon. But its limited range of 10 to 120 kilometers is lower than the Indian Brahmos sea-denial missile, with a range of 300 kilometers. Sovremenny-class ships also carry long- and short-range ship-to-shore missiles – effective if the Chinese get too close to Indian coastal bases.

    China has launched its own “total weapons system” in its Aegis-equipped destroyers, developed from stolen and copied Russian technology to counter U.S. Aegis-class ships on Taiwan patrol duty. Its capability to launch long-range anti-aircraft missiles and sea surveillance is noteworthy, but how closely the Chinese copy resembles the original is unknown.

    Most noteworthy in China’s naval arsenal is its fleet of submarines. In the last 10 years China has taken delivery of 12 Russian Kilo-class submarines. These, together with two new nuclear-powered submarines – the Jin class to carry ballistic missiles and Shang class attack submarines – are more potent than their ships. Nuclear ballistic missiles on board the Jin-class submarine are meant to intimidate the United States and Japan.

    A large mix of these ships and submarines could travel to the Indian Ocean from China’s newly built naval dock facilities on Hainan Island and confront India or the United States.

    The private intelligence agency Stratfor has concluded that by 2015 China will have two aircraft carriers – one Chinese and one Russian, but refitted by China – and two to four nuclear submarines. But China faces immense challenges in building these. Without outside help, their reliability and effectiveness are in doubt.

    India’s naval expansion is not far behind. It is adding six conventional submarines from France and 33 other ships in the next five years. In addition, one or two nuclear submarines plus an aircraft carrier of Indian design and a refitted Russian one should be ready in the next two and eight years respectively.

    Overall, India currently operates 134 ships, 16 submarines and two, possibly three aircraft carriers. Indian submarines are relatively modern. The French Scorpene submarines are stealth and independent propulsion and can stay under water for long periods. The nuclear submarines will carry 700-kilometer-range missiles.

    One Indian nuclear submarine with its indigenous missile system is in the final phase of construction. If the Chinese position a nuclear submarine off the coast of India, the Indians can send their own nuclear submarine into position off the southern coast of China. This tit-for-tat deployment will deny China the advantage.

    India’s destroyers and frigates are equipped with longer-range supersonic Brahmos missiles and carry Barak-1 anti-missile defense systems. Its aircraft carrier is presently equipped with Sea Harrier jump jets, but these will be replaced with highly lethal naval version MIG-29Ks. The newer aircraft carriers will have more advanced weapons and aircraft.

    It is the Indian P-8s, the newly ordered surveillance and submarine hunter-killer planes, that are a force to reckon with. They can pick out a submarine hundreds of miles from Indian shores and “kill” it with Harpoon missiles. Add to this the shore-based defense network and the enemy will have no place to hide or get away.

    In addition, India’s network-centric battlefield interconnectivity has greatly enhanced the navy’s reach. It is a strategic force multiplier. Its availability to any navy enhances the entire spectrum of management including diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, strategic deterrence, trade and commerce and security.

    India made its first inroads into network-centric warfare immediately after the Kargil War of 1999. The United States is the leader in this new concept but India, with its vast software development capability, is not far behind. At the moment the Indian navy is just about network enabled and is moving progressively toward the network-centric concept. A huge software and hardware development effort is underway.

    Also India’s newly constructed Kadamba naval base matches China’s newly built facility on Hainan Island. When completed, it will be a naval base, air force station and naval armament depot with long-range missile silos. It is a US$8 billion facility, the third in a series of integrated navy bases on the country’s east and west coasts. Kadamba will berth 42 ships, including aircraft carriers and submarines. It will repair and refit all navy ships and naval planes. It is a giant base with easy access to the Indian Ocean.

    Hence, by 2015 India will have a formidable naval defense. Most of the Indian hardware has been built with outside help and is highly sophisticated, outclassing China-built hardware.

    Therefore, a smaller but deadlier force is what China will face in the Indian Ocean. There is one wild card however – Pakistan, which could take advantage of India’s preoccupation with the Malacca Strait to gain mileage for its own strategic aims.

    In short, nobody can say that China’s navy 10 years hence will be a pussycat. But in the Indian Ocean, China will face a much bigger challenge than it anticipated.
    http://www.upiasia.com/Security/2009/03/20/chinas_vulnerability_in_malacca_strait/7196/
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    All the weapons system mentioned at the start are not yet in Indian inventory. So obviously this article is based in the future. Just read yesterday that the aim of the IN is to have over 300 surface and sub surface combatants in the next decade.
    Many of them will be nuke subs as that will constitute the main deterrent for India.
    Malacca is always a threat for the Chinese. India with its base in the Andamans can easily choke it up. One of the reasons why China is really modernizing its navy more than its air force. Its trade and energy security is at stake in the Malaccas.
     
  4. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Chinese economy depends on trade thru our waters, no matter what they do their ships pass thru OUR waters as long as relations are good, China is also no USA where they can fight a war far from home and even the wars they fought at home they needed help to win
    (ww2) and lost a war to vietnam, sometimes a bully winds up with the bloody nose, let them reclaim that little island called Taiwan first then we'll see how tough these softees really are?
     
  5. shiv

    shiv Regular Member

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    with all this future speculation lethal force we should not underestimate our enemy....they currently do posses a stronger navy than us in overall force.....except for an aircraft carrier.......they are also spending 3 times more than us,i think we should stop being emotional and think rationally
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    I am thinking rationally and I wonder what would happen when they come under a barrage of Brahmos? i also don't underestimate them but I do know their numbers are greater and so is the age of many of their ships,subs also I rather think offensively than defensively, let them worry how they can sustain fighting from water logistically when their supplies are cut off and they are just waiting for the slaughter to come? also any confrontation would also pose a big question of Russia,USA and NATO involvement as well as Japan so we don't have to give an answer alone.
     
  7. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    can you please give link. thanks.
     
  8. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Don't remember where I read that so I have no link. When I read that I was wondering where will all that ship building capacity come from? Our ship yards have their hands full
     
  9. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    yusuf this looks enormous, ToI has following to say.

    300 on sea combatants is massive and the concern would not only be the infrastructure, which of course is a big concern but also the money involved.
     
  10. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    There you go it was TOI. Thanks.
    For me it's not the intention to have a fleet of 300 ships, or the money involved. It is where will you build that many? There is not enough capacity in India for it. Russia is unreliable. Europe will be more than twice the cost wrt India.
    Personally can't wait to see all of this materialize. Would love to see India as a bully on the high sees. Right now it's only Uncle Sam calling the shots
     
  11. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    Reports are their GoI considering SK to build some of its warships.
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    SK is good in making commercial ships, don't know of a good combat ship record. They might be able to make bare bones ship, but weapons integration, electronics is not there cup of tea right now.
     
  13. shiv

    shiv Regular Member

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    lethal force all of their ships are equipped with S-300 VLS sams with long range....they are also equipped with sunburn supersonic ASHMs....the later on most of their ships....so we should come out of the frame and look at the picture and not admire it with only the painters view
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    We are going in the right direction with P-8I we need to fight them from the air
    as well as the sea, either way any Chinese war will be bad for the region and terrible for USA, USA had offered AEGIS I don't think we ever got it, Shiv I know they are a threat but not just to us but many, if we do ever fight them we have to be sure to be part of a greater alliance(like our naval exercises) i know we are still not at the point to take on them completely alone but the weapons we have used properly would do heavy damage, anyway the point i want to make is logistically it will not be easy for them and we definetly will not be a pushover.
     
  15. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    I believe that sophisticated hardwares are not installed by the shipyard people but by the agencies dedicated to it. Considering warship grade steel SK shipyards can go ahead to make it sea worthy rest leaving it to those agencies either in SK or India.
     
  16. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    Mate a capability would be developed only when there is a requirement, now if the IN says they have a requirement of 160 combatants by the year 2022 then it gets pointless to develop additional infrastructure, had they talked about lets say a 200(+) fleet by 2022 or there abouts then one would have justified additional investments but since no such requirement is there and the navy feels confident that they can do their stuff with 160 odd fleet then it makes perfect sense to not divert additional funds in creating facilities that would certainly not come to use in another one and a half decades, as it is a part of those new procurements that are happening are being done off the shelf so partly the burden gets shared and as payeng has pointed out they are in talks with the SKs on making of the next 2 frigates. As for the russians being unreliable well the escalation of prices is a state policy and those are the prices one pays for not have indigenous capabilities and this is a problem that can happen across the board and this should certainly not be seen as one off case, french are no less. If you are specifically talking about all production to happen in india then we clearly lack not only in the infrastructure required but also the technology and capabilities and if every thing is tried in one go then well people do need to act like the chinese who are masters at beg, borrow and steal, are we ready to do any such thing I personally very much doubt. Money is one thing the political leadership has to have those type of guts which is not quite the case with us.


    Mate the bigger question as per me is the time lines that are followed by our psu dock yards and that has to come up as a priority, if we can not adhere to time lines then the utility diminishes, and whole process gets further prolonged as then with keeping with the times the forces want up to date latest upgrades and in most of the areas we are found wanting and then this delaying process becomes a vicious cycle, one that we are already entrapped in. at heart I am a hard core supporter of indigenous capabilities being developed but for that to happen we need to pin point the faults we have and those need to be cured.


    As for seeing the USN eye to eye, well that time will come and for that to happen there is still time, let the economy do its bit which it is bound to do and once that happens every thing else will follow including defence capabilities as also the concept of unipolar world would have gone by then, since we are at it I see some drastic changes in india post 2025 as by then india would be sitting right next to japan in terms of nominal gdp and india then would be an economy of something like 5-7t usd (there abouts). india for the moment has to make sure that we are internally secure so that our big dreams dont just remain dreams and we do not have repeats of mumbai terror attacks or things similar to what keeps happening in our immediate neighbourhood ,along with this quite clearly we have to also make sure that both pakistan and prc do not think of any misadventure as also we should be in a position of giving a befitting reply to them in case they just did one. So my focus for india would be internal challenges and for the external it would be the immediate neighbours and to secure from further challenges we have to have the diplomacy working at its best.
     
  17. natarajan

    natarajan Senior Member Senior Member

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    sk??? means can say you expansion and where it is located
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    SK, South Korea.
     
  19. Koji

    Koji New Member

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    Umm...check out their King Sejong the Great Destroyer. It is a fantastic ship. It is considered to be better than the Atago class of Japan or Arleigh Burke of the US. They integrated the AN/SPY-1 Radar system passive array (it is the AEGIS component) themselves.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Scientist

    Scientist Regular Member

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    India has got mu-ch of the global outsourcing business for services, but very little for labour-intensive manufacturing.

    Two major culprits are inflexible labour laws and the continuing reservation of many items for manufacture by small-scale industries. However, i see signs of one major labour-intensive industry shifting from Western countries and East Asia to India. This is ship-building and ship-repair.

    With little fanfare, several corporations are building huge shipyards across the coast of India, from Kutch to West Bengal. Ship-building consists mainly of riveting of steel plates to form a vessel, followed by internal fittings. This cannot be done on an assembly line by robots. It has to be done manually by skilled welders and fitters.

    Ship-repairing is even more labour-intensive and skill-intensive. Every repair job requires individual analysis and customised solutions. It involves less material and far more labour than ship-building.

    India is well placed to supply cheap skilled labour that can compete with the best in the world. Yet, for decades ship-building has languished despite massive subsidies.

    Why? Because, historically, the big shipyards — civilian and military — were inefficient public sector monopolies. A few private sector shipyards were licensed, but only for small vessels.

    However, with the abolition of industrial licensing in the 1990s, new shipbuilders like Bharti Shipyard and ABG Shipyard came up. They faced difficult times when the Asian financial crisis led to the collapse of demand for ships. But the regional and world economy recovered sharply after 2003, and the demand for ships is now booming.

    This has encouraged several companies to take the plunge and embark on construction of big shipyards, some of which will be world-scale.

    ABG has set up a major shipyard costing Rs 1,600 crore at Dahej, Gujarat, and is flooded with orders worth over Rs 1,300 crore. It will build up to 25 ships a year, making it a major Asian player.

    Sea King, owned by Nikhil Gandhi, is setting up a shipyard at Pipavav, Gujarat, to build ships of up to 300,000 deadweight tonnage (dwt), almost thrice as large as the biggest ships built by the government's Cochin shipyard. It is far cheaper to transport oil to deep-water Indian refineries using big tankers. Gandhi claims that his Pipavav Shipyard will be among the ten biggest in the world. It has bagged two advance orders worth $720 million to manufacture ships for Z Schifenbau of Germany and B F Shipping of Cyprus.

    Takeover specialist PK Ruia, who in recent years has taken over Jessops, Dunlop, and Falcon Tyres, now proposes a mammoth shipyard at Haldia costing over Rs 3,000 crore. It will be among the biggest in the world, building 12 ships a year of Panamax size (the maximum size that can go thro-ugh the Panama Canal). The project will include ship-breaking and ship-repair units, as well as a mini-steel plant and captive power plant. It will employ as many as 16,000 workers, more than major auto manufacturers such as Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto.

    The Adani group is setting up a Rs 1,000-crore shipyard at Mundra in Kutch, adjacent to its new deep-water port there. This can be expanded to rival the Pipavav shipyard.

    Tata Steel plans a shipyard at its new coast-based plant in Orissa. Steel sheets and plates from its steel plant can go directly by conveyor belt to the shipyard, saving time and transport costs. Tata Steel has just formed a joint shipping line with NYK of Japan, and the shipyard will be a link between its steel and shipping business.

    A major new development is the decision of the ministry of defence to source the bulk of its annual spending (around Rs 13,000 crore) from the private sector. This has been the main spur for L&T to expand its shipbuilding business, which includes warships. It is already building parts of submarines and soon plans to build entire submarines. Other private sector defence suppliers include the Tatas and Mahindras, both of whom could conceivably get into naval vessels and equipment.

    Indian business is convinced that India has a major comparative advantage in ship-building that has been masked all these years by an inefficient public sector notorious for high costs and time overruns. The labour cost per worker in India is estimated at $1,192 per year, against $10,743 and $21,317 per worker in leading shipbuilding countries like South Korea and Singapore. Apart from skilled welders and fitters, India has world-class naval engineers and architects. These, along with top-class management, can make India a global power.

    Ship-building was dominated by Europe and North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the '60s Japan's cheap skills enabled it to become the top ship-builder. Soon afterwards South Korea , Taiwan and Singapore emerged as major builders. However, all these have now become high-income countries. So, ship-building is shifting to China.

    Logically, it should shift to India too. China and India have the skills and cheap steel to make the best, cheapest ships.

    Source: By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

    Untitled Document
     
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  21. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    i feel IN is the most impressive and pragmatic arm of the indian armed forces. they have been really wise in terms of technology. sensing very early the global denial regime in terms of high tech material, they have relied on themselves and some with trusted friends like russia. it is amazing how they have coopted drdo when it comes to sonars, torpedos, brahmos, sagarika etc..by having regular naval exercises with the best of the navies they have kept themselves up todate with tactics and training. with their 2020 vision they are certain to rule IOR albeit with some help from USN. i am sure they are well ahead qualitatively to chinese navy making up for the quantity. i am damn sure they will decide any future war india will fight.
     

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