Indian Ocean PLAN Strategy Thread

Discussion in 'Strategic Defense' started by Blackstone, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Blackstone
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    Blackstone Brigadier

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    How do you see the balance of power in the Indian Ocean by 2030? China has one rock solid anchor in Hainan, and is reportedly working on one or more western anchors along the East African coast. Progress is being made in the SCS, and the micro maritime nation of Seychelles is already on board to base PLAx units. The other rising great power, India, is nervous about Chinese adventurism in the Indian Ocean, but does it have the political will, comprehensive national might, and superior international relations to neutralize/contain Chinese influence in its backyard?
     
  2. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    I believe the PLAN's main interest in the IO will be to ensure its own SLOCs through there to the PErsian Gulf, Africa, etc.

    They may well end up with a base in Pakistan that they make heavy use of.

    India of course will not like this...and it already building up to try and ensure that they can counter such growth into what the deem to be their sphere of influence.

    Their own Naval buildup is not insubstantial.

    But china will simply ensure that they have enough assets to be able establish/define and defend their growing SLOCs to resource rich areas beyond the IO.

    Initially this will mean SSNs patrolling there and being in a position to interdict any threat to TFs passing through. They area already sending SSNs through the IO.

    Ultimately they may forward deploy vessels to a Pakistan base...but that would be some distance away and is purely speculative at this point.
     
    #2 Jeff Head, Jun 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  3. plawolf
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    plawolf Brigadier

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    A PLAN naval base on the Indian Ocean may be here a lot sooner than you seem to think Jeff.

    The various rescue missions the PLAN has conducted in recent years have been a tremendous success for China, and has demonstrated beyond any doubt the usefulness of having a strong naval presence in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

    The PLA high command would be acutely aware of the giant slice of good fortune that they had during those crisis, that they so happened to have assets within close proximity of the trouble spots able to divert to assist.

    However, the flip side of all that is that the success of those operations have vastly raised public expectations within China and amongst Chinese expats on what they could reasonably expect the Chinese government to be able to do to protect its citizens in foreign lands in the event of emergency and crisis.

    I think in the face of this growing public expectation and with the knowledge that luck cannot be relied upon, the PLAN is in a race against time to establish itself as a global force before some new crisis develops in the part of the world beyond its immediate reach.

    Fortunately, most of the world is pretty safe, so the PLA's primary focus would be the Indian Ocean and the west Africa.

    One of the major problems the PLAN has faced during the anti-piracy patrols has been logistics. The PLAN is expanding its tanker and replenish ship fleets, but that is only a stopgap measure. The only sustainable long term solution are logistical bases.

    That is why its has been in talks with a number of countries, including the Sychelles, Pakistan and Djibouti.

    I think the PLAN will establish bases in Djibouti and maybe the Scychells first to signal the fact that its naval presence is primarily intended to safeguard its nationals and assets in Africa rather than trying to lock horns with India.

    Unlike India, China does not really see India as a threat, and is not particularly interested in needless antagonising or provoking India just for lolz. As such, I think Beijing would refrain from formally establishing a naval base in Pakistan to spare Indian sensitivities. Although it may well have a de facto resupply base there in all but name.

    The other reason for not setting up a base in Pakistan is that it gives China leverage to use against India to stop India sticking its nose where it does not belong.

    Indian attempts to insert itself into the SCS issues is one such example.

    The SCS simply doesn't matter to India, and its just grandstanding and a misguided attempt to somehow stick it to China that sees India trying to insert itself there. And Beijing would be taking a very dim view of that.

    If India does that much more, China may well start talking publically about a major naval base in Pakistan as a reminder of the things China could do to make India very uncomfortable if it wanted to.
     
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  4. Jeff Head
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    Jeff Head General
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    Oh...I think you may have misunderstood.

    I do believe a Chinese base in Pakistan or nearby in the IO, is something that may happen more near term.

    But that base will be for refueling, provisioning, etc.

    I believe that the PLAN actually forward deploying an entire Flotilla, or CSG, is what may be further out.

    Forward deploying like the US does with an entire CSG and ARG as well as the full destroyer squadron to Japan with dependents, etc.
     
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  5. Bltizo
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    Bltizo Moderator
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    I think permanent forward deployment of a small CSG or ARG, or large SAG in Indian ocean, waters near africa, could occur prior to 2030. By this I mean having a constant taskforce on station there which can rotate out (like the PLAN anti piracy taskforce that's been on station since 2008), with maybe a few bases where they can reprovision at, allow some crew to rest at, and to provide general intelligence and support.

    I do agree that I don't think we'll see any real permanent forward basing (like what USN does at Japan, homeporting of USS george washington at present, at Yokosuka) of anything more than a small SAG post-2030.
     
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  6. Brumby
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    upload_2015-6-9_18-29-48.png

    Source : Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements for the Twenty-First Century by Christopher D. Yung (CHINA MARITIME STUDIES INSTITUTE U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE Volume 13)
     
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  7. PanAsian
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    PanAsian Major

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    Here is a link to the source document:
    http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/stratperspective/china/ChinaPerspectives-7.pdf

    And some text analysis corresponding to the chart:
    This is by far the most objective analysis regarding the real and potential Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean, still tinged with hostility towards China but that is the trend in US policy circles these days.

    My opinion is that the entire concept of China "expanding" into the Indian Ocean, and especially suspicions that China seeks to somehow dominate the Indian Ocean, is merely part of a broad, deep, and persistent misinformation campaign targeting an Indian audience by those who are already hostile to China.

    Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean is limited to transiting, resupplying for missions farther afield, MOOTW and related military exercises such as humanitarian assistance or SAR. There are no reasons for that to change unless India or the US chooses to threaten China's SLOC's through the area.

    There is the potential for low intensity Chinese offensive military operations after transiting the Indian Ocean and arriving in the Middle East and Africa but unless Chinese foreign policy drastically changes to abandon non-interference this would be limited to evacuations, maybe a hostage rescue, or in support of a UN mandate. For these missions China may deploy up to several LPD's, a LHD would be handy if they eventually acquire one, with escorts but they would not be sufficient to pose a threat to India or the US presence in the Indian Ocean.

    On a related note, this is why China is more likely to build LHD's rather than CV's. A Chinese fleet far from home with a LHD fits much better with China's range of needs and core policies while one with a CV only fits well for a narrow set of scenarios.
     
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