I. The Big Story: China’s Naval Modernisation
The US’s Congressional Research Service (CRS) published its annual assessment of China’s naval modernisation on March 18. The report highlights PLA’s latest naval developments, newer acquisitions, improved capabilities, changing approach and gaps to be exploited. The report is a useful document for anyone interested in the PLAN, naval warfare and Indo-Pacific security. Here are a few important takeaways from the document:
– China’s navy is a formidable force in the near-seas and is conducting a growing number of operations in the far-seas, which includes the Indian Ocean, Western Pacific and waters around Europe. In the past few years, it has surpassed the US on the count of the ships. China has 360 battleships while the US has 297. The Chinese ships and weapons are much more modern as compared to the 1990s.
– The Chinese naval modernisation encompasses a wide array of platforms like anti-ship ballistic missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, submarines, aircraft, surface ships, unmanned vehicles, supporting C4ISR (command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems and more.
– China is conducting its naval modernisation with five objectives: