China and India: Comparisons of Naval Strategies and Future Competition

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Following the rise of China, the rise of India has also become the focus of global attention. The US National Intelligence Council (NIC) has concluded that the emergence of China and India as new players on the global stage, similar to a united Germany in the nineteenth century and a powerful United States in the early twentieth century, will transform the geopolitical landscape. Alongside their economic achievement, transformation of their foreign strategies is also important for observing the possible impact of China and India on each other and on the rest of world, especially on the emerging maritime security environment. In this paper we first describe why maritime strategy is crucial to the two countries and then explain what they stress in their new policies. After analyzing two arenas with potential conflict in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, we conclude that, even though China is under focus at present, India is also an important naval power that China cannot afford to ignore in its plans to develop a blue-water navy and become a real global player.

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... Modern China has witnessed successful economic reforms since the 1980s which enhanced its clout and switched the country's strategic ambitions from time immemorial to craft its existence to the current targets of safeguarding steady financial growth. The change demarcates an essential shift for China, changing from a closed country to a developing one that has irretrievably incorporated it into the globalized world (Tsai, 2015). In the mid-1980s Beijing began to reorient its military strategy from the mainland and coastal defense to an outward power jutting capacity by sea power modernization to build a blue-water navy. ...
In Asian and global power politics a maritime strategic angle concentrates on the value of fortifying and controlling sea lines of communications (SLOCs) for stability, economic growth, and development of nations. Consequently, both India and China are snooping to control SLOCs and safeguard their emergent and escalating worldwide interests. The advancement in and expansion of naval power satisfies the corresponding nationalist aspirations of Beijing and New Delhi. As a result, the development of their maritime capabilities would have a greater impact on the naval security architecture in the Indian Ocean. The hike in Chinese engagements across the Indian Ocean widely known as the String of Pearl’s stratagem is principally stimulated by a policy of maritime encirclement of India. Struggle to secure tactical energy resources which are quickly revolutionizing their navies could induce clashes and have major repercussions for global security affairs. Harmonious handling of both China’s and India’s cooperation will be crucial for regional as well as international peace and opulence shortly and everyone looks upon a fabulous Asia reflected in the world. Thus, this paper analyses the underlying factors that motivate both countries to have ambitious objectives in the Indian Ocean and could find out that securing energy is one of the driving forces in securing maritime dominance across the Indian Ocean.
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Just what's China up to at sea? To casual observers, including a burgeoning legion of journalists, commentators and bloggers, China seems set on a path to becoming a major force on the world's oceans, developing bluewater naval power with which to protect the Chinese state's expanding economic ties to far-flung corners of the world and project political and even strategic influence. Such observers rightly note the rapid growth in China's international seaborne trade, its shipping and shipbuilding sectors, and its marine economy and maritime interests in general. China's naval developments over the past decade have been widely commented on, especially its high-profile purchase of Russian surface, submarine and aircraft platforms, its indigenous construction of both conventional and nuclear-powered submarines, and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's groundbreaking and ongoing deployment of an anti-piracy flotilla to the Gulf of Aden. And, in the past year or so, the blogosphere and reputable security forums alike have lit up with speculation on the imminent start on the construction of China's first aircraft carrier.
Since obtaining its independence in 1947, India has conducted a very complex foreign policy. Two guiding objectives have underpinned this complexity, even though different personalities — and even different parties— have been responsible for shaping foreign policy. The first of these objectives has been to enable India to act as the central regional power; and the second, as a corollary to this, has been to make other regional actors acquiesce to such an Indian role and to induce the major powers to tolerate it. These objectives have set India’s broad foreign policy parameters and played a major role in determining the character of India’s relations with important actors in the wider world arena, most notably the USSR and the USA. They have also influenced the strategic and security perceptions and priorities of successive Indian governments to the extent that most of their foreign policy actions and the outside reactions to them have either directly flowed from them or been closely inter-woven with them.
Two highly regarded scholars come together to examine India's relationship with the world's major powers and its own search for a significant role in the international system. Central to the argument is India's belief that the acquisition of an independent nuclear capability is key to obtaining such status. The book details the major constraints at the international, domestic and perceptual levels that India has faced in this endeavor. It concludes, through a detailed comparison of India's power capabilities, that India is indeed a rising power, but that significant systemic and domestic changes will be necessary before it can achieve its goal. The book examines the prospects and implications of India's integration into the major-power system in the twenty-first century. This book's incisive analysis will be illuminating for students, policy makers, and for anyone wishing to understand the region in greater depth.
China Goes to Sea: Maritime Transformation in Comparative Historical Perspective is a provocative work that seeks to assess the prospects for a contemporary Chinese maritime transformation by examining and comparing the key factors that have shaped such transformations undertaken by landed empires from ancient times to the modern period — that is, landed empires that have effected a shift from a primarily landward strategic orientation to one that preferences maritime economic and naval power. After a brief introduction, the work is divided into four sections. The first examines the Persian, Roman, Spartan, and Ottoman empires; the second analyzes the maritime experience of European continental states in the age of global communications from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, including France, imperial Russia, Germany, and Soviet Russia; and the third assesses late imperial China during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1364–1911) and Mao’s China (1949–1980). These three sections serve as a prelude to the fourth section, which the editors regard as the most important part of the book — the assessment of contemporary China’s maritime assets and the prospects for a complete maritime transformation, with both commercial and naval components, in the near future. Gilbert Sullivan introduces the section on the early Mediterranean world with an excellent analysis of the multinational character of the Persian maritime enterprise in the late sixth and fifth centuries b.c.e ., arguing that the Persians’ tolerant practicality, built on a foundation of outstanding leadership, coherent political institutions, and fiscal abundance, enabled them to enlist the nautical skills and technical infrastructure of their maritime allies (principally, the Phoenician city states) to overcome maritime challenges and then create a permanent maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean to stabilize their seaward frontiers and profit from maritime trade. The Persians, the author points out, provided the funds, while their allies did the work — this without losing sight of the geographical imperatives that faced their vast landed empire; thus, Persia was one of the few states, ancient or modern, that was able to sustain and balance its strategic needs on both land and sea. Similarly, Arthur Eckstein’s detailed analysis of Rome’s maritime transformation emphasizes the adaptive practicality of the Roman leadership in the late Republic in response to the threat of Carthage during the Punic Wars (264–146 b.c.e .) and then, later, to the threat of piracy in the eastern Mediterranean that led to the creation of the Roman navy. Quick to fund and build fleets of warships to meet these challenges and exploit the naval resources of allies as a force multiplier, the Romans soon came to appreciate that naval power and communications enhanced their rule in those parts of the empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea, and the navy became an integral, albeit subordinate, part of Roman imperial power beginning with Octavian’s rule (27 b.c.e .). The Ottoman Empire (1300–1922) also exploited naval power and communications after completing the conquest of its landed empire in southeastern Europe and the Middle East, culminating in 1453 with the conquest of Constantinople — a port city with already existing navigational facilities and infrastructure. Jakub Grygiel brilliantly outlines the Ottoman maritime transformation that sought, first, to stabilize and defend the eastern Mediterranean coast and, second, to maintain its access to the Indian Ocean trade via the Red Sea. It did so, he argues, at a watershed moment in world history when the Atlantic powers, led by Portugal in the early sixteenth century, made spectacular innovations in ship design, deep ocean navigation, and the fortification of ports on the world’s major sea lanes, enabling them to dominate ocean communications into the twentieth century, thereby turning the Mediterranean Sea into a strategic and commercial backwater. In this new global-strategic context, the Ottoman leaders resisted the lure of seaborne adventures in maritime Asia and the costly naval innovations required to compete there. Instead, they decided to secure their position on the Mediterranean with the oared galley, and settled for access to Red Sea ports while devoting their land forces to internal and landward threats to their diverse empire. Barry Strauss’s analysis of Sparta’s “meteoric rise and fall” (p. 33) as a naval power provides...
Recent developments in Chinese politics and defense policy indicate that China will soon embark on an ambitious maritime policy that will include construction of a power-projection navy centered on an aircraft carrier. But just as nationalism and the pursuit of status encouraged past land powers to seek great power maritime capabilities, widespread nationalism, growing social instability, and the leadership's concern for its political legitimacy drive China's naval ambition. China's maritime power, however, will be limited by the constraints experienced by all land powers: enduring challenges to Chinese territorial security and a corresponding commitment to a large ground force capability will constrain China's naval capabilities and its potential challenge to U.S. maritime security. Nonetheless, China's naval nationalism will challenge U.S.-China cooperation. It will likely elicit increased U.S. naval spending and deployments, as well as politicization of China policy in the United States, challenging the United States to develop policy to manage U.S.-China naval competition to allow for continued political cooperation.
The post‐Cold War period has witnessed significant maritime developments. The intensification of trade‐linked development and the entry into force of the Laws of the Seas in 1994 led to state interests being increasingly identified with freedom of navigation and ocean resources, thus making maritime issues a major subset of national security. Events leading to 9/11 saw the addition of an amorphous dimension to existing threats, expanding the ambit of maritime security. While the scope of this paper is restricted to the northern Indian Ocean, globally, the Indian Ocean holds the maximum stakes in terms of vital resources and sea‐lines; yet coincidentally, it is also the most imperiled, especially in terms of asymmetric threats. India, an emerging power in the region, can assume the responsibility to address these threats through a proactive approach and convergence of interests with regional maritime players.
This article considers various security predicaments affecting relations between India and China. These Sino-Indian security predicaments include their territorial dispute, their nuclear arms race, their encirclement and alignment scenarios, their trade and energy issues, and their future prospects. International relations (IR) theory is deployed around these varied security predicaments, with power and perception particularly evident in IR realism, geopolitics, constructivism, and security dilemma dynamics. Balance-of-power theory is complemented by balance-of-threat considerations. India's hedging strategy towards China and China's own strategy of transition point to each country looking to their own respective rise for the mid century.
What's the fastest route to economic development? Welcome foreign direct investment (FDI), says China, and most policy experts agree. But a comparison with long-time laggard India suggests that FDI is not the only path to prosperity. Indeed, India's homegrown entrepreneurs may give it a long-term advantage over a China hamstrung by inefficient banks and capital markets.
Over the past few years, India has placed itself on a path to potentially achieve the regional influence in the Indian Ocean to which it aspires. To this end, New Delhi has raised its profile and strengthened its position in a variety of states on the Indian Ocean littoral, especially Iran, Sri Lanka, Burma, Singapore, Thailand and most of the Ocean's small island states. India has also become a more palpable presence in some of the Ocean's key maritime zones, particularly the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Of equal or greater importance, India's links with the most important external actors in the Indian Ocean – the United States, Japan, Israel and France – have also been upgraded. These are significant achievements and derive both from India's growing economic clout and the surer hand of contemporary Indian diplomacy. Gaps, of course, remain in India's strategic posture. New Delhi will need to strengthen further its hand in coastal Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. More work will also be required to upgrade India's still somewhat distant relationship with Australia. At the same time, India will need to be more skilful than it has been in cultivating – or ‘compelling’ – better relations and an environment more attuned to its interests in Pakistan and Bangladesh. As India pursues its various goals in the Indian Ocean, much will depend on the performance of the Indian economy and on India's ability to avoid domestic communal discord. Another variable will be the extent to which other states – particularly China and the United States, but also Pakistan and others in southern Asia – are willing or able to offer serious resistance to India's ambitions. The future of political Islam is another wild card. However, barring a halt to globalisation – one of the key mega-trends of the contemporary world – the rise of India in the Indian Ocean is fairly certain. This development will have a transforming effect on the Indian Ocean basin and eventually the world.
China's national goals have shifted from the need to guarantee its survival during the country's revolutionary days to the current state of securing stable economic development. This shift marks a full transition for China, changing from a closed country to a developing one that is irrevocably integrated with the rest of the world. Today, while this subject is a common discourse in scholarly and political circles, the international community is still coming to grips with the meaning and impact of China's evolving role on the world stage. It is not an easy issue and extends beyond economics. With external trade accounting for almost 50 percent of China's economy, China is now highly interdependent with a globalized market.1 This shift also includes hard social, political and geopolitical choices that deeply impact matters of national security. The more developed China becomes the greater its dependence grows not only on foreign trade but also on the resources to fuel the economy. With these complex and expanding interests, risks to China's well-being has not lessened but has actually increased, making China's national security at once both stronger and more vulnerable.
The traditional underpinnings of international relations in Asia are undergoing profound change, and the rise of China is a principal cause. Other causes include the relative decline of U.S. inºuence and authority in Asia, the expanding normative inºuence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the growth of regional multilateral institutions, increased technological and economic interdependence throughout the region, and the amelioration of several formerly antagonistic bilateral relationships. As a result of these processes, the structure of power and the nature of the regional system are being fundamentally altered. China’s growing economic and military power, expanding political inºuence, distinctive diplomatic voice, and increasing involvement in regional multilateral institutions are key developments in Asian affairs. China’s new proactive regional posture is reºected in virtually all policy spheres— economic, diplomatic, and military—and this parallels China’s increased activism on the global stage. 1 Bilaterally and multilaterally, Beijing’s diplomacy has been remarkably adept and nuanced, earning praise around the region. As a result, most nations in the region now see China as a good neighbor, a constructive partner, a careful listener, and a nonthreatening regional power. This regional perspective is striking, given that just a few years ago, many of China’s neighbors voiced growing concerns about the possibility of China becoming a domineering regional hegemon and powerful military threat. Today these views are muted. China’s new conªdence is also reºected in how it perceives itself, as it gradually sheds its dual identity of historical victim and object of great power manipulation. These phenomena have begun to attract
Introduction 1. Asia: Global Water Crisis Hub 2. Murky Hydropolitics 3. The Tibetan Plateau: The World's Most Unique Water Repository 4. Exploiting the Riparian Advantage: A Key Test Case 5. Managing Intrastate Water Conflicts 6. Mitigating Intercountry Water Disputes or Discord 7. Asia's Challenge: Forestalling Bloodletting over Water AppendixesA: Interstate Freshwater Agreements in Asia since the Start of the Decolonization ProcessB: Web Links to Key Asian Water Treaties Notes About the Author Index
One of the key milestones in world history has been the rise to prominence of new and influential states in world affairs. The recent trajectories of China and India suggest strongly that these states will play a more powerful role in the world in the coming decades. One recent analysis, for example, judges that "the likely emergence of China and India . . . as new global players--similar to the advent of a united Germany in the 19th century and a powerful United States in the early 20th century--will transform the geopolitical landscape, with impacts potentially as dramatic as those in the two previous centuries. India's rise, of course, has been heralded before--perhaps prematurely. However, its ascent now seems assured in light of changes in India's economic and political mind-set, especially the advent of better economic policies and a diplomacy emphasizing realism. More fundamentally, India's continued economic rise also is favored by the scale and intensity of globalization in the contemporary world. India also is no longer geopolitically contained in South Asia, as it was in the Cold War, when its alignment with the Soviet Union caused the United States and China, with the help of Pakistan, to contain India. Finally, the sea change in Indian-U.S. relations, especially since 9/11, has made it easier for India to enter into close political and security cooperation with America's friends and allies in the Asia-Pacific.
“Summer Pulse 1904,” an exercise designed to test the ability of the U.S. Navy to operate in multiple theaters simultaneously, excited lively commentary among China's official press. In many cases this commentary drew on the writings of an American naval theorist, Alfred Thayer Mahan. Mahan's writings on sea power and geopolitics spurred the United States to build up its navy at the turn of the 19 century and to seek out a share of the Asia trade. This essay examines how Mahan is shaping Beijing's geopolitical calculations today and, in particular, its maritime aspirations. Alarmed at the prospect of de jure Taiwanese independence, China is developing the military and naval forces necessary to keep U.S. naval forces at a distance while it prosecutes a Taiwan contingency. Western observers must not dismiss China's bid for Mahanian supremacy in the Taiwan Strait and other East Asian waters.
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