Friday, March 03, 2017

The Intensification of Submarine Arms Race in Asia

The formulation of a state’s maritime strategy should take into account what pundits call the “maritimization” of the globe. In the eyes of Thayer Mahan, the navy is an important instrument that guarantees states’ interests at sea. To this end, a clear vision is needed to carry out a naval strategy. Many states in Asia have well understood this trend.
 Many reports argue that by 2030, at least half of the submarines of the world will belong to the navies of the powerful Asian countries including China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and ,and Pakistan. In fact, they have all embarked on an accelerated modernization of their military forces and especially their fleets. The strategic control of sea lanes has become the subject of a greater rivalry. Click here.
China's ambitions in the South China Sea , the enduring tensions between China and Japan, the historic conflict between China and Taiwan, the war between Pakistan and India ,and the territorial disputes between India and China explain this arms race and,  particularly, towards the military capabilities  that allow to predict  military forces. The acquisition of 36 gusts by India is directly in line with this logic. 
 Submarines programs have become massive and widespread, especially in the face of the Chinese navy power. Chinese military budget has increased by more than 10 percent per year over the past 27 years. The Chinese military budget surpasses Japanese one for at least 3.6 times. China now has the largest fleet of attack submarines in the world with 71 ships and builds an average of 10 annually. The newest models are made in China but purchased under license from Russia and equipped with the latest Russian technology. China has also acquired three nuclear -powered submarines (093-G) and 093-B capable of launching supersonic anti-ship missiles. China finally announced the construction of a second aircraft carrier.

In response, Japan has accelerated the upgrade and development of its submarine fleet with the plan to purchase ten modern submarines. In total, the Japanese submarine fleet is expected to reach 22 vessels. Vietnam, another actor that has adversarial relationships with China, has also acquired six Russian submarines and they are operational today. Australia intends to deploy between 8 and 12 submarines and has decided to spend $ 50 billion more to make them operational.
Fearing retaliation from China, Taiwan has not been able to purchase submarines from its partners such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia. However, it is considering building its own ships.  
Pakistan has five submarines purchased from France. It has ordered eight vessels from China and it is seeking to acquire more from the western fleets. The Pakistani navy has a strong desire to equip 12 additional submarines. In response, the Indian Navy has issued tenders to buy several submarines and is particularly interested in purchasing the Japanese Soryu type which it would like to purchase six. The Indian submarine fleet now has 15 ships.

The fact of acquiring submarines shows that the rise of military tensions in Asia is indeed a reality although we have not yet witnessed a direct military confrontation between these countries.

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