China remains formidable challenge: Indian Navy Chief

Admiral R. Hari Kumar said China has increased its presence not only along the land borders, but also in India’s maritime domain….reports Asian Lite News

Indian Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar said that China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence not only along the land borders, but also in India’s maritime domain.

He made the remarks on Tuesday while addressing the 49th annual management convention of the All India Management Association.

“China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence, not only along our land borders but also in the maritime domain by leveraging anti-piracy operations to normalize its naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region,” the Navy chief said, adding that Beijing had maintained a continuous presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) since 2008 “using anti-piracy operations”.

“At any point we have anything between five to eight Chinese Navy units, be it warships or research vessels and a host of Chinese fishing vessels operating in the IOR. We keep a watch on them and see how they are undertaking their activities in the IOR.”

Admiral Kumar further said that India’s capability plans and development is not based on a nation, but upon the requirements to protect, preserve and promote our national interests.

“That is how we structure our force and while structuring the force and developing the capability, these get factored and enable us to keep the Indian Ocean under surveillance,” he said.

The Navy chief also said that Pakistan has also continued its military modernisation despite economic constraints, adding that terrorism is still a major security threat along with the existing military challenges.

Meanwhile speaking at a separate event organised by Bharat Shakti, Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande said that there are still two friction points at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh that India and China need to move forward.

He said that the immediate task is to disengage from these friction points before the next step of de-escalation.

Unmanned subs in SCS

New satellite images of China indicated that Beijing might be preparing for the deployment of massive unmanned subs in the South China Sea, however, the intention is still unclear, a media report said.

The new images showed two of China’s extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicles (XLUUV) at Sanya Naval Base on Hainan Island, which geographically juts into the contested South China Sea, Asiatimes reported citing Naval News.

According to the report, two vehicles were present all-time at the base since March and April 2021, but have been spotted now.

It also mentions that the two XLUUVs have been seen near an area where China has previously based its midget submarines, indicating trials or testing.

Elaborating about the XLUUV, defence analyst H I Sutton in Naval News said that the underwater vehicle is around 16 meters long and two meters across.

Regarding operational use, Sutton says in Naval News that XLUUVs are capable of performing ISR missions. In addition, their larger size translates into longer sea endurance, which enables them to be used for offensive operations such as minelaying, anti-submarine warfare and special operations.

Recalling the previous articles, Asia Times noted that the South China Sea might be an ideal operating environment for XLUUVs, as its unmapped underwater features and shallows make navigation hazardous for manned naval combatants.

An increase in the number of dronification of underwater warfare comes with a warning.

According to Asia Times citing an August report from the US Congressional Research Service (CRS), the potential for miscalculation and escalation with unmanned vessels, mentioning that they make tempting targets.

Due to the lack of human crews, they are viewed as expendable. Because of this, commanders may feel emboldened to strike at them, lowering the threshold for military action.

The report emphasizes that without human guidance of unmanned systems, the risk of escalation increases, with an incident without any immediate human presence or losses potentially sparking a wider conflict at sea and beyond, as per reported by Asia Times. (IANS/ANI)

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