Indian Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Sardaukar20

Junior Member
Registered Member
This idea of India having the power to blockade the Malacca Straits is a fantasy. Leave the military considerations aside for the moment. Let's assume that India is only going to actually stop shipping that are headed to China. The Indian Navy can check all the shipping manifest they want. But it won't really matter. Using the simple logic of how international shipping works there will be insurmountable problems for India.

It is a norm in international shipping for ships to be making multiple stops along its journey. Say a ship is carrying goods from Europe, stops by at Calcutta, stops by at Singapore, stops by at at Shanghai, and then finally arrives at Nagoya. In all of those stops, the ship would be picking up and unloading goods for all sorts of shipments. So:

1) If India stops this ship, it'll stop shipments from arriving to Singapore, China, and Japan. Everyone of those countries will suffer from the blockade.

2) If India confiscates only the goods heading to China, then it would require docking at an Indian port. This will effectively hold up the ship for days, weeks, or months. Indian ports are not the most efficient in Asia, so prepare for a dreadful wait. This will still mess up the shipping of goods not going to China. The shipment delays, traffic jam of ships, and rising shipping costs will be nightmare. Let's not even begin to talk about time-sensitive shipments.

3) If India tells other countries to not ship to China via the Malacca Straits so as to avoid this inspection issue. Why should they listen? Who the hell is India to tell other countries to do that? They'll ask: "So I can't trade with China just because you have a problem with them?". Who is to stop other countries from just ignoring India? Shipping manifests could be manipulated. Or shipments could be transited through third-party countries on the way to China. You see, China is not North Korea, it is the world's largest trading nation. People will make efforts to trade with China.

4) What about goods that are heading from China to countries on the other side of the Malacca Straits? Is India gonna stop shipments of toys for Xmas heading from China to Europe? India can stop that shipment. The Chinese companies don't get paid, and the European shops won't get their toys. Would that not piss off both China and Europe?

5) How many ships crossing the Malacca Straits is likely to dock in China? Since China is the largest trading nation on the planet, my guess is that a massive percentage of them will be docking there. So good luck to India trying to sort those ships out.

As you can see. In all of the points above, India blocking China out of the Malacca Straits is an exercise of hubris and pure ignorance of how international trade works. Because not only will China suffer the blockade, but almost everyone would too. India blocking the Malacca Straits is just going to piss everyone off, except a select few. India won't be winning any friends by doing that. It could provoke a multi-nation response against India to re-open the Malacca Straits. Or it could result in the other nations including India's fellow Quad mates, giving China tacit carte blanche to wreck India militarily in order to reopen the Malacca Straits. India is going to be gifting friends to China for blockading the Malacca Straits. No amount of China-blaming is gonna change that.

Jai Hinds and Indian military fanboys can argue all they like about how India has the capability to blockade the Malacca Straits. How India has this trump card, or 'Sword of Damocles' over China's head. India blocking the Malacca Straits only from China, without massive collateral damage is an impossibility. Building a military strategy and doctrine for an impossible objective is a military blunder in the making. The US have thought about it, but dared not go further. Only India is stupid enough to entertain such an idea for the sake of 'Jai Hind!'. Unless I have wholly underestimated the stupidly of Indian leaders, I believe that India's threat to blockade the Malacca Straits is one big Indian bluff.

The only way for India to truly blockade China's sea trade is to blockade the Chinese ports themselves. If India wishes to do that, then good luck to them.
 
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ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
Your point of reference of "modern warship" is apparently SAM VLS.
This isn't a measure of a modern warship, or of a fighting capability of a navy.

This isn't my point of reference. It is to show the disparity between PLAN and IN in one important measure. The PLAN has even greater disparity in other measures. The VLS is one I used to illustrate how wide the gap is.

It is one measure out of many of a modern warship and naval capability. One this particular measure and almost every single other measure, the Indian navy does not compare favourably.

Not only better rate of fire for SAMs isn't a "dreadnought moment" for surface warships, but surface warships themselves also aren't dreadnoughts.

Fighting capability of the Indian navy is better measured in its ability to form survivable CSGs and SSGs, and their integral salvo capacity. Both capacities are actually reasonable - especially in a given region. For at least some years to come, they even have a clear fighting chance w/o Andamans or other land support.

IN's ability to form survivable CSGs and SSGs I don't consider reasonable compared to PLAN's. Given a region nearer to India's coast and support, PLAN is indeed fighting an uphill battle regardless of nominal superiority. It is like you said, a similar situation with USN and PLAN + Chinese coastal support. The difference between these examples is that India is the one waging war here the Chinese will be sending PLAN to unblock India's Malacca Strait blockade. On this I am yet to hear from you why you think Indian navy's ability to form survivable CSGs and SSGs are reasonable with only around 6 modern ships with 3 of them being frigates marginally better than Type 054As.

The main player in this battle (if we're forcing Andamans) is actually IAF - and it will be really hard to outshoot them. By default, getting into a shooting contest against a land-based air force for the navy is a losing option, for a very dumb reason (AF can reload and come again. And again). To put it bluntly - don't do it: there are other ways for a navy to win against the shore, and this isn't one of them.

That's why they won't be aiming to outshoot them in such a scenario. It would be reducing the combat readiness of IAF using ballistic and cruise missile attacks on key platforms and infrastructure. The Indians do not have good air defences to really even intercept a quarter of those attacks. This done long enough to dislodge IN.

IAF cannot reload when they rely on imported weaponry to sustain even mildly long engagements. Their AF being used around Andamans would leave India open for PLAAF. Why would China retaliate with both hands tied back?

There are indeed many ways for the navy to win against such an IN and IAF.

They have the ability to project force to Malacca strait. It doesn't even require navy (which was used as an argument in their budget wars). Point of the navy is that it works elsewhere, and makes engaging Andamans very difficult (threat of a sneaky massive strike out of nowhere - Midway case).

They do in the same way China has the ability to project force to California... in that they can sail over. They cannot hope to survive it in a contentious environment. The purpose is to dislodge Indian commitment on blocking the strait and allowing flow of shipping again right? In this scenario which India would not actually do despite wanting to simply because unlike what you've said, they really cannot block Malacca Strait without retaliation from China.

Still waiting for India to do this. Such a move would justify unrestricted response from China.

AShBMs and HGVs, until they'll appear on intermediate platforms with a reasonable degree of access to the Indian Ocean basin, are not overly relevant in this scenario. Their targeting chain is simply too weak here.

Their targeting chain is not weak here at all. Their targeting chain would be stronger here in the eastern Indian Ocean than it would be in the SCS. The targeting chains are space and drone based platforms. The missiles have more than enough range to cover all of this region and then some. These are all MRBM ranges and no need for intermediate platforms.

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So technically China could even let the PLAN stay east of the strait and knock out Indian ships from Yunan if China preferred to do it that way. Taking out their carrier alone would unblock the Strait of Indian delusions.

This is precisely the point where I think you are wrong.
Chinese ships are in a fight around the corner("wall" of land mass+neutral airspaces), where your mainland-based support assets are limited, you have to come to your opponent, you have to come from a few predetermined directions and almost 100% preemptively spotted, and the opponent is specifically geared for exactly this fight.
This has two implications. First of all, until reasonably recently PLAN was gearing up for such a fight itself - in fact, you can even mimic Indian CSGs with older Chinese units. But the situation changed - and PLAN is now shifting away from this Sovietsalvo model: for new conditions and missions - it's defective. But, first of all, PLAN hasn't fully shifted yet - and the most crucial element of the new way isn't truly ready just yet.

Second is a simpler one: if some doctrine is now defective for China, it doesn't mean it's defective for others - quite the contrary, actually. The more PLAN superiority is obvious, the more others will try to shoot above their weight(fight asymmetrically). Vietnam tries it, ROC does it, even Japan does it... So does India, which was building exactly this type of navy (Gorshkov navy-2MKI ;)) for half a century, and this model still works.

No you got all this stuff wrong. What fight around the corner? Even if we make this a navy on navy fight where each navy needs to totally sink the other in order to achieve objective, the Indians cannot bring any mainland support or their airforce. To block the Strait their navy needs to be there in that vicinity. They can't stay near to India's coast with land and air support because that would mean Chinese shipping passing the Strait since the IN isn't there.

Do you know where the Malacca Strait is? It's not that close to India and not within reach of a single Indian weapon.

I am doubtful of your claim on how well India is performing this asymmetric approach even if I agree the concept is correct and is done by China and plenty of others in their time.

The situation of a direct result of India declaring block of Malacca Strait means China has to remove their naval presence around the Strait. They cannot enforce any block if they have no presence. Not a single IAF fighter has the combat radius to reach the Strait except Su-30s and they cannot perform this realistically with any loiter or combat time with payloads.

For India, the best it can hope for is China refrains from using AShBM and HGVs to simply sink their ships from the comfort of a few land based launches, using only PLAN sailing over to meet them. IAF and Indian land based support cannot assist at all because they don't exist or don't have the range. If IN stay nearby to those supports, China can send PLAAF to redirect them or PLAN could basically take the Strait and wait for India to come out of their coastal protection.

Why I raised VLS is because India's navy has extremely poor AD based on less than 400 Barak-1s + Shtils + Barak-8s. That's basically a handful of Type 052D and Type 054A equivalents and with far inferior sensor performance considering only 3 ships have the Israeli AESA units vs nearly 20 Type 346A with far superior missiles.

Without AD they cannot hope to contain a 10 times greater force with more modern equipment. This is isolated and not even counting production rates and attrition.

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ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
India being able to block Malacca Strait from China is about as unlikely to happen as North Korea successfully invading the US. It's honestly a laugh fest and requires a huge range of mental gymnastics of ignoring things and focusing on best wishes to even consider it as possibly achievable.

India could do it for about a few days without challenge until the war is planned out by China and they are rapidly brought back to reality.

There are so many ways to engage this in military solutions. As soon as IN sails to India's eastern side, they are within reach by land based MRBM carried AShBM and HGVs. PLAN is more than 10 times larger than the IN and the PLA is equipped by China whereas the Indian military is quite dependent on importing parts and wholesale platforms.

India's electronic and cyber warfare is near non-existent. It's military leaders believe slotted arrays developed in the 1990s can detect and provide firing solutions against VLO targets at beyond 100km and one way to hide from radars is by flying in the clouds.

No Indian space based asset can expect to survive retaliation moves. Even if it is just PLAN vs IN in Malacca Strait or 500km around it, my money would be on PLAN since it is 10 times larger and better equipped. Indians are also not famous for being exceptional military performers... in anything. Like what do they actually have in reality that's going for them in such a scenario?

This is like comparing a fleet of 10 or so Type 054As against half the US Pacific Fleet out Midway.

India is not the US. Its naval capabilities is barely comparable to Australia in terms of equipment levels. In fact IN is something of a much less competent Royal Australian Navy with slightly better offensive capabilities (Brahmos) and much weaker defensive capabilities. The problem is their offensive capability in Brahmos doesn't translate to any gain at all.

The only type of way we can consider and entertain the idea India could pull this off is by claiming something for India and then stopping right there without thinking about it further e.g. Fighting capability of the Indian navy is better measured in its ability to form survivable CSGs and SSGs, and their integral salvo capacity. Both capacities are actually reasonable... but really? Yeah no.

Or "For at least some years to come, they even have a clear fighting chance w/o Andamans or other land support. " ... yeah, no. With what? Brahmos the Onyx with range restrictions taken off?

Or "The main player in this battle (if we're forcing Andamans) is actually IAF" ... yeah, no. No IAF fighter can get to Malacca Strait, stay, and fight. Not a single one. In fact there isn't a fighter on earth with the roughly 2000km+ combat radius required to loiter with payload and perform combat.

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ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
The argument that China is able to defend itself from the US therefore India can achieve this wrt China is also wrong.

China is able to defend its 500km or so of water or the thinking is thereabouts. This is already very different to the Malacca Strait situation which is nearly half way between the two okay favouring India slightly no doubt.

Another difference is China is much closer to US than India is to China. In every way one can think of. If US is 100 China could be an 80 and India is a 10. So the whole "China can do it against the US so India can against China" fails again.

Then think about China's deployment of A2AD weapons such as proliferated types of AShBM which India has no ability for at all and the proliferating of HGV weapons in Chinese arsenal. If India had exotic A2AD weapons they've demonstrated and used, then it would certainly be another matter. But here, it is China who has experience intercepting and defending against HGVs and MaRVs because it has those itself to practice against. India doesn't even practice intercepting against even Brahmos because their budget and stockpile actually cannot justify. India is primarily geared to fight against Pakistan. It's financial depth and effort goes as far as planning against Pakistan. Whereas China's has always been to defend against a US threat.

So that line of analogy and reasoning is totally inappropriate because of geography, ranges, participant military capabilities, A2AD weapons, and a much greater disparity between naval strengths.

Look at PLAN's overall strength and the USN. They aren't anywhere near as far apart as IN and PLAN.

The US could not use its home bound airforce and coastal supports. China and India are neighbours. A Chinese retaliation for India blocking the Strait would involve a situation where China can theoretically bring the majority of its entire force onto India. In comparison to US bringing only its entire navy to a fight along with the regional assets on their bases. This point only accentuates that disparity.

And on the point of A2AD weapons China can use on India in such a situation, they can be WZ-8 and/or satellite guided (fractions of a second lag to a second if accounting for processing) which means China can shoot at any Indian ship in the entire northern half of the Indian Ocean using DF-26 AShBM. India has barely a chance and not a single weapon with the reach of WZ-7 or WZ-8 flight altitudes. WZ-8 is high supersonic and stealthy also. DF-21 has enough range as it is. To be honest, the PLARF can just pull out and dust off their retired first gen AShBM for this stuff. There's no point wasting DF-21 and DF-26 in this case.
 
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ougoah

Colonel
Registered Member
China pioneers drone swarm (the real thing) technology and genuine autonomous, networked command.

India buys a few quadcopters (made in China) and get people controlling them to release grenades onto cardboard and calls that exhibit a show of drone swarm technology.

China produces guided artillery rounds with Beidou GNS. Chips and guidance instruments miniateurised to fit inside artillery shells next to warheads and dealing with those forces.

India spends $100,000 USD on each imported American guided artillery round when about half its population would not be considered literate by western standards and do not have access to basic sanitation.

We are measuring two nations and overall capabilities that is in honesty actually considerably wider than the gap between a 1990 China and 2021 US. India has no more an ability to block Malacca Strait on its own than a toddler has a chance in a fight against a soldier. Of course these are my opinions and I hope Chinese leaders remain vigilant and the exact opposite of this lol. Indian leaders and people still think they're 2012 superpower though so...
 

Gloire_bb

Senior Member
Registered Member
This isn't my point of reference. It is to show the disparity between PLAN and IN in one important measure. The PLAN has even greater disparity in other measures. The VLS is one I used to illustrate how wide the gap is.
Nah, it doesn't work this way.
The whole point of this approach is negating potential qualitative and quantitative advantages - provided your fleet manages to get into launch position and form a salvo (or salvoes). No fair fights. Older PLAN units themselves work in this exact fashion.
With large majority of IN large surface combatants carrying 8-16 supersonic ASCMs - they certainly can form such a salvo.
IN's ability to form survivable CSGs and SSGs I don't consider reasonable compared to PLAN's. Given a region nearer to India's coast and support, PLAN is indeed fighting an uphill battle regardless of nominal superiority. It is like you said, a similar situation with USN and PLAN + Chinese coastal support. The difference between these examples is that India is the one waging war here the Chinese will be sending PLAN to unblock India's Malacca Strait blockade. On this I am yet to hear from you why you think Indian navy's ability to form survivable CSGs and SSGs are reasonable with only around 6 modern ships with 3 of them being frigates marginally better than Type 054As.
Hah.
1. We are talking about ~20 Brahmos-equipped ships around 1/2 carriers, with ships forming the main long-range salvo (number will grow to ~30 in the coming years).
2. A bit different. SLOCs will be cut with or without Malacca - as long as IN can sortie. Because they come around Indian subcotinent to begin with. IN doesn't exactly need to blockade the strait by its CSGs - it's done by default by Andaman/Nicobar airbases. While strait can indeed be made more annoying (submarines, smart mines) the primary blocking position is Andamans themselves. Consequently - if we're fighting here(and you really can't avoid it if you're to unblock Malacca) - expect full scale land support.
3. Sufficiency shall be measured against the threat. As of now - the threat level PLAN can create in those waters w/o 003 in place is ironically quite limited. Precisely because its main ASuW firepower comes in forms of carrier wings(which really underperform for the mission) and YJ-18s. Which are good missiles by themselves, but not good missiles at all in this particular mission.
4. Important note: for PLAN the mission is a 3-body problem(三体问题 ;p), with main point being actually Andamans. For IN - this is a very direct mission with just 1 task - to sneak up on PLAN at the least opportune moment. This isn't an easy task, but it always shall be kept in mind, that PLAN has to deal with two conflicting targets (and the more dangerous and important one is actually Islands). Indians really need to win against one and have reasonable chances to spot it first.
p.s. come to think of it, until 075s are ready - it's hard to do anything permanent with Andamans in any case.

They do in the same way China has the ability to project force to California... in that they can sail over. They cannot hope to survive it in a contentious environment. The purpose is to dislodge Indian commitment on blocking the strait and allowing flow of shipping again right? In this scenario which India would not actually do despite wanting to simply because unlike what you've said, they really cannot block Malacca Strait without retaliation from China.
Ekhm. See this loong chain of islands north of Sumatra and parallel to Indochina? That's Andamans and Nicobars. They're actually Indian union territory.
The whole strait is comfortably within the unrefuelled strike range of Su-30MKI from all those bases. And Indian P-8s can cover the whole region.
China's ability to project force to California hasn't come that far as of yet, unless I missed something important about J-16s.
So technically China could even let the PLAN stay east of the strait and knock out Indian ships from Yunan if China preferred to do it that way. Taking out their carrier alone would unblock the Strait of Indian delusions.
Unless idea is to knock out the Indian ocean - I don't see it being so simple. And knocking out the whole Indian ocean is probably beyond what Humanity can do right now.
ASBMs require precise and immediate targeting data. China really lacks means of thereof in the Indian ocean. In western Pacific it's doable, in Chinese seas - can be taken almost for granted. But here - not so much, especially not against carrier. Lack of access matters.
No you got all this stuff wrong. What fight around the corner? Even if we make this a navy on navy fight where each navy needs to totally sink the other in order to achieve objective, the Indians cannot bring any mainland support or their airforce. To block the Strait their navy needs to be there in that vicinity. They can't stay near to India's coast with land and air support because that would mean Chinese shipping passing the Strait since the IN isn't there.
Wrong point #1. They don't need to bring there their navy (though bringing dispersed light forces&conventional subs will be an obvious no-brainer), and they easily can bring almost their whole airforce to the fight there.
Simply politely rerouting China-bound vessels in the Indian ocean by CG vessels will do the trick. But without winning maritime superiority against India(read - destroying its navy AND physically occupying Andamans) - there is very few things China can do about it.
I am doubtful of your claim on how well India is performing this asymmetric approach even if I agree the concept is correct and is done by China and plenty of others in their time.
Sometimes there is a merit checking "howto" from actual authors of the said strategy.
photo_2021-09-11_01-43-42.jpg
Spoiler: author of this book is very well known in India. It'd be an overstatement to call him one of its founding fathers, but it isn't as big an overstatement it may seem at first. Especially when you see IN from 1960s and especially 1970s onwards, up to now.

Why I raised VLS is because India's navy has extremely poor AD based on less than 400 Barak-1s + Shtils + Barak-8s. That's basically a handful of Type 052D and Type 054A equivalents and with far inferior sensor performance considering only 3 ships have the Israeli AESA units vs nearly 20 Type 346A with far superior missiles.
Nope, wrong analogy.
Right one would be setting there enlarged fleet of upgraded 956EMs and 052bs under a 001 umbrella, behind (=around in several dispersed groups within ~1500km) the Nicobar/Andaman islands, waiting for opportune moment to (preferably undetected) close in for a massive synchronized salvo. Yes, those ships are older than the current generation of PLAN ships. But they're actually going to be better for this particular mission - and yes, they will be quite deadly even to PLAN/USN CSGs, even if the former are their direct descendants. Indian ships with Bramos are better still for the same task - for quite obvious reasons.
Why? Because we're really counting supersonic ASCMs in a single overwhelming salvo for this mission, everything else comes second.
Modern PLAN combatants(which you like for their cells) are reasonably good for dealing with such salvo, but (1)they can't really reply(carrier can, but it's still 001), (2)stopping such salvo without hits(read - losses) is outright unlikely, (3)don't forget about our (第)三体 - which are still very much there.
Are there ways to solve this? Sure, many of them. But in case salvo works - it is most probably IN victory, hence the deterrence.
Situation will improve substantially for PLAN when 003(4?) will come online, however. For reasons I would like to avoid writing in this post - it's already too long.
 

ZeEa5KPul

Senior Member
Registered Member
I always felt there was something off about this guy but I couldn't put my finger on it. Good on you @ougoah for outing him as a full-blown Jai Hindist straight outta BR. I'm surprised he was able to keep a lid on it for this long. I guess as China's strength keeps growing and growing the stress on its enemies grows similarly.
 

Gloire_bb

Senior Member
Registered Member
There are so many ways to engage this in military solutions. As soon as IN sails to India's eastern side, they are within reach by land based MRBM carried AShBM and HGVs. PLAN is more than 10 times larger than the IN and the PLA is equipped by China whereas the Indian military is quite dependent on importing parts and wholesale platforms.
As majority of this post is still apparently written without knowledge of Andamans - I'll skip directly answering most of it.
Key point is different. Before raining death and destruction from space, i mean, launching MRBMs and so on - you have to find your target. And go through your whole kill chain.
Please name currently available methods of finding targets in the Indian Ocean - preferably with their relative upsides and downsides. Just to make sure - this isn't me being annoying, this is a fundamental question (problem) of this whole concept of warfare.
But in short - all mainland-based assets - including those capable of overflying national airspaces - don't matter as much as brightly colored fields suggest. Against USN in the western pacific - yes, they do. But here - much less so.
 

Gloire_bb

Senior Member
Registered Member
We are measuring two nations and overall capabilities that is in honesty actually considerably wider than the gap between a 1990 China and 2021 US. India has no more an ability to block Malacca Strait on its own than a toddler has a chance in a fight against a soldier. Of course these are my opinions and I hope Chinese leaders remain vigilant and the exact opposite of this lol. Indian leaders and people still think they're 2012 superpower though so...
While I know that India bashing is sort of popular here (name of the forum makes it kinda expected), but...
How much do you remember about the military of 1990 China? The one which within a year got to understand that its whole underlying concept wasn't worth the paper it's written on, and one almost at the peak of being behind the times in terms of capabilities of its military?
If anything, if you ignore that original state - you essentially try to underwrite the whole immensity of improvement of PLA has achieved since then. Not a good thing to do.

The capability gap in this particular scenario we're talking about is small enough to make it unobvious.
As big as it is in other fields - it doesn't matter here.
 

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