Chinese admiral floats idea of overseas naval bases

Discussion in 'China' started by bengalraider, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    The Talk of Maintenance bases may be a ruse to deploy significant naval assets abroad.
    China may be looking at a more permanent naval presence in the IOR with naval bases financed by china nearing completion in both Gwadar and Hamanbatota, the IN might soon be facing a situation where significant PLAN assets are based in it's own backyard, hence complicating the oft repeated goal of controlling the mallaca straits in case of conflict, we might just not have to face a land war on two fronts but a naval war on multiple fronts with two opposing navies at once.The IN needs to speed up induction of more large combatants or it might be found lacking when push comes to shove.

    source: Chinese admiral floats idea of overseas naval bases | GlobalPost




     
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  3. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    China's navy mulls push into Arabian Sea

    China's navy mulls push into Arabian Sea - UPI.com

    BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A Chinese admiral's proposal to build a naval base in the Gulf of Aden, ostensibly to supports Beijing's anti-piracy flotilla off Somalia, has alarm bells ringing in the region.

    China's growing naval encroachment in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to protect its Middle Eastern oil supplies threatens eventual conflict with India, its longtime rival and Asia's other economic titan that is also flexing its muscles in its regional quest for oil.

    The Chinese navy joined the international operation against the Somali pirates a year ago with a couple of warships and a supply ship.

    It was the first long-range projection of Chinese naval power in the region in 600 years and a clear part of Beijing's strategy of restoring naval supremacy there.

    But the Chinese navy has encountered difficulties in sustaining such operations, involving complex logistics, so far from home. One escort flotilla spent 124 days at sea without docking. Chinese warships have been using a French naval base at Djibouti for resupply.

    On Tuesday Rear Adm. Yin Zhou, a senior official at the navy's Equipment Research Center, proposed on the Defense Ministry's Web site that Beijing establish its own base in the region "to strengthen our supply capacity."

    He did not specify any country where such a base might be set up. But Beijing has been setting up bases across the Indian Ocean in competition with India for some time.

    As the world's largest importer of crude oil, China is reportedly interested in establishing naval bases in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand to protect its increasingly important maritime supply routes from the Middle East and Africa.

    The Chinese have been steadily building a chain of naval installations -- dubbed a "string of pearls" strategy -- across the Indian Ocean for some time.

    Indian strategists have watched with dismay as the Chinese established a maritime reconnaissance and intelligence station on the Coco Islands, leased from Myanmar in the early 1990s.

    The islands are an ideal location from which to monitor Indian naval and missile launch facilities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal as well as the Indian navy's maneuvers across the eastern Indian Ocean.

    "Beijing is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to secure its energy, using the navy to protect maritime supply and building new pipelines," according to Jane's Intelligence Review.

    China is building a major deepwater port on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Pakistan that could become a key naval base for China's expanding submarine fleet.

    Beijing also plans to run oil and gas pipelines into western China to reduce its dependence on the more vulnerable maritime routes.

    China has been building another deepwater port that could be used by its naval forces at Hambantota on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

    On March 27 China and Myanmar signed an agreement to build twin pipelines to carry oil and gas from the Middle East and Africa 1,250 miles from the Arakan coast to China's southwestern Yunnan province, shortcutting the long sea voyage via Singapore.

    The $2.6 billion project, expected to be operational by 2013, will further lessen China's dependence on the 560-mile Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia.

    An estimated 80 percent of China's oil imports currently flow through the strait. The chokepoint seaway, which connects the Indian and Pacific oceans, is considered highly vulnerable to interdiction.

    China is now mulling the acquisition of aircraft carriers to bolster power projection in the Arabian Sea. It recently unveiled its first nuclear submarines capable of long-distance operations.

    India already has one carrier and is expected to take delivery of another from Russia in the next couple of years. It launched its first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine in August.

    India has established a chain of naval facilities across the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. These include a chain of radar stations across the Maldives, an archipelago of some 1,000 tiny islands and atolls running south from the Indian coast, to monitor Chinese movements.

    New Delhi wants to establish an intelligence base in the Maldives as well.

    India has also established a new listening post in northern Madagascar, a large island of East Africa, that is linked to similar facilities in Mumbai and Kochi on India's west coast that are the headquarters of its western and southern naval commands
     
  4. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    Paper no. 3580 31-Dec-2009

    China’s Interest in Naval Base: Gwadar or Hambantota or Elsewhere?

    By B. Raman

    Ships from the Chinese Navy patrolling the seas on anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden area for over a year now could not go to the rescue of De Xin Hai a Chinese bulk carrier with a Chinese crew of 25 members transporting coal which was hijacked by a group of Somali pirates 400 miles North-East of Seychelles and taken to the waters off Somalia in October last.

    2. Their demand for ransom was initially resisted by the Chinese. How can China, which views itself as a power on par with the US, pay ransom? The Government-controlled media in China gave its people very few details of the hijacking, but those, who had been following the incident through the Internet, were certain that the Chinese would not cave in. They were hoping and expecting that the Chinese Navy would emulate the example of the US, Dutch and French Navies, whose special forces had rescued their seamen from the custody of the pirates during 2009. The US Navy’s Sea Air Land Commandoes (SEAL) had rescued the master of the US ship “Maersk Alabama” in an operation on April 4, 2009. There were similar instances of intervention by the naval special forces of Holland and France.

    3. Independent experts outside China were not hopeful of the Chinese Navy’s ability to intervene. They were certain that the Chinese Navy would ultimately have to cave in to the demands of the Somali pirates. The Jamestown Foundation, a prestigious American think-tank based in Washington DC, had predicted that China was unlikely to use its special forces in a rescue operation because it had too few ships in the area and its ships had no combat experience, especially in dealing with pirates. Moreover, there was the danger that while a botched-up operation could embarrass the Chinese Navy, a successful operation might worry Asian nations who have territorial disputes with China.

    4. While Chinese Internet surfers and bloggers were eagerly waiting for news of the rescue of the Chinese bulk carrier and its crew by the Chinese Navy vessels patrolling in the area, news came from international shipping circles, which monitor the activities of the pirates, that the Chinese authorities managed to get back their ship and crew from the pirates on December 28, 2009, after air-dropping sacks containing US $ four million on board the ship from a helicopter. The pirates collected the money and left the hijacked ship, which is now reported to be on its way back home.

    5. The Chinese Government has so far not told its people that it paid a ransom in order to get the ship and its crew back. The “China Daily” News merely told its readers that the ship had been “successfully rescued”.

    6. Their embarrassing experience with this incident has brought home to the Chinese the limitations from which their Navy suffers. One of the lessons mentioned by their experts is that the Chinese Navy could not hope to be the equal of its US counterparts unless it had overseas bases in areas of concern. Another lesson is that their ships on anti-piracy patrol feel handicapped due to the absence of a base in the area being patrolled by them where they can go periodically for refueling and re-stocking and for rest and recreation for their crew.

    7. In an interview over the State radio on December 28, 2009, Rear Admiral Yin Zhou, an expert of the Chinese Navy, said: “I believe that a relatively stable, relatively solid base for resupply and repair would be appropriate. Such a base would provide a steady source of fresh food, along with facilities for communications, ship repair and recreation. Any definite decision to establish such a base would have to be taken by the Communist Party. Supplying and maintaining the ( Chinese) fleet off Somalia was challenging without such a base. Other nations were unlikely to object.”

    8. He did not say where such a base could be located, if the Party ultimately accepted his suggestion. China already has two options before it---- Gwadar on the Balochistan coast in Pakistan and Hambantota in Sri Lanka. It has already constructed for Pakistan a commercial port at Gwadar, which is now being managed by a Singapore company. During a second stage, it is proposed to construct a naval base for the Pakistan Navy there. This could serve the purposes of the Chinese Navy too. The Chinese are helping Sri Lanka in the construction of a modern commercial port at Hambantota. There is presently no talk of a naval base there.

    9. Pakistan would be only too happy to respond positively to any Chinese request for naval base facilities at Gwadar. The only inhibiting factor for China would be the bad security situation in the area due to the ongoing Baloch freedom struggle. From the point of view of security, Hambantota could be ideal for the Chinese, but would the Sri Lankan Government agree to any such proposal if it comes from Beijing?

    (The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: [email protected])

    China’s Interest in Naval Base: Gwadar or Hambantota or Elsewhere?
     
  5. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    I think we should all applaud Chinese efforts to battle Somali piracy. It is a scourge that needs everyone to participate. I think the need to expand foreign bases in the region isn't really necessary if we can come to common sense agreements about replenishment and leave. There are already two French bases in the region China is more than welcome to use as has already been the case. Instead of PLAN basing in Gwadar or Sri Lanka, India could make a goodwill gesture and let China replenish there for anti-piracy missions. If China refuses, you then know they have deep alterior motives.

    On a side note; Paying pirates is never the answer. Airdropping $4 million is only going to encourage these parasites to continue what they are doing. PLAN needs to bring along trained commandos to conduct raids and rescue operations. Working alongside the international forces there would go a long way to interoperability and accomplishing goals around the Horn of Africa.
     
  6. himanshugoswami

    himanshugoswami Regular Member

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    If you think the Chinese efforts are worthy of applause (really? caving in to terrorists/pirates?), i wonder what you will have to say about the stellar role being played by the Indian Navy w.r.t. Somali pirates, where Indian Navy has not only helped out Indian merchants, but has on some occassions engaged the Somali pirates successfully while responding to distress calls from European merchant vessels.
     
  7. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    Backtrack on the PLAN's overseas naval base already?

    Friday, January 01, 2010



    China rules out overseas naval base now
    By Zhang Haizhou (China Daily)
    Updated: 2010-01-01 08:23

    China rules out overseas naval base now

    China will stick to its current supply regime to support anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday, responding to an admiral's suggestion that Beijing set up a permanent base in the region.

    Experts said an overseas supply base might be an option in the future, but is not an urgent issue now.

    "Some countries have set up overseas supply bases (but) the Chinese fleet is currently supplied at sea and through regular docking (in the Gulf of Aden region)," said a ministry statement faxed to China Daily.

    The statement was in response to an outspoken retired admiral, Yin Zhuo, who said setting up a base would bolster China's long-term participation in the operations.

    "We are not saying we need our navy everywhere in order to fulfill our international commitments," Yin, now a senior researcher at the navy's Equipment Research Centre, said in an interview published on Tuesday. "We are saying to fulfill our international commitments, we need to strengthen our supply capacity."

    Yin's proposal came after a Chinese cargo ship and its crew of 25 were rescued from Somali pirates on Monday.

    China has sent four flotillas to the region since the end of last year, with the first escort fleet spending 124 days at sea without docking, Yin said - a length of time that added to the challenges of the operation.

    Since then, Chinese vessels have docked at a French naval base for supplies. The United States, the European Union and Japan have supply bases in the region, Yin pointed out.

    "If China establishes a similar long-term supply base, I believe that the nations in the region and the other countries involved with the (anti-pirate) escorts would understand," he said.

    Still, his suggestion has evoked wide international concern.

    The BBC said "other countries have been closely monitoring China's international deployments for signs of increasing assertiveness in its foreign defense policy."

    The report said the Chinese navy "has not been in this part of the world (the Gulf of Aden)" since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

    During the 15th Century, Chinese vessels reached the East African coast, visiting Mogadishu and Malindi in Somalia and Kenya, even taking back a giraffe and a zebra as souvenirs.

    Yin's proposal raises "the idea that China could build foreign bases elsewhere", AFP said in a report.

    But Jin Canrong, an international relations expert at Renmin University of China, said Beijing has yet to seriously consider setting up a permanent overseas supply base. He said it's unnecessary to "play up the personal view of Yin, a retired admiral".

    Jin, however, said the possibility of setting up such a base should not be ruled out.

    "China's national interests have extended beyond its border, so it's necessary to have strong ability to protect them," he added.

    Li Jie, a senior colonel and researcher with the Chinese Navy's Military Academy, also said Beijing should consider setting up an overseas supply base "in the long run".

    "For many other countries, it's a common way of ensuring naval supplies," Li said. Such a base, "not a military one", would not only ease supply but also provide a venue for naval personnel to take a break.

    But an overseas base could only be set up "within the UN framework and concurrence of surrounding countries", he added.
     
  8. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    This isn't about a Indo-Sino pissing contest. China has escorted hundreds of vessels including Indian merchants or anyone else who wants to join the convoy. They have responded to half a dozen distress calls preventing hijackings. We may not agree on their caving to ransom demands as France won't do and is the only nation to conduct commando raids in the heart of Puntland, but all efforts should be appreciated. China doesn't have the operational experience to carry out hostage rescue so far from home, hopefully they will get and use this capability.
     

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