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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Chinese Views On Indian Space And Defence Programmes - An American Perspective

They contend that India's development programmes, in the area of Aircraft Carriers, Remote sensing satellites & Ballistic Missile Defence [BMD], are more advanced, vis-à-vis their own undertakings.

"despite all the dismissiveness that you still hear from the Chinese side towards India there is definitely a marked rise in attention paid towards India"

"the Scientific community within China has been paying a long & sustained attention to Indian Aerospace advances"

Spotted these old videos, earlier today - valuable insight, they provide. Dr. Lora Saalman received her Doctorate from China's Tsinghua University, and was/is based in China, as part of her association with the well-known Carnegie Endowment Institute.

Few points stand out. Expectedly, the Chinese pay close attention to India's maritime plans including, as mentioned, Nuclear Submarines, to be supported by dedicated satellites, which she specifically mentions. Their energy security, today, depends on unfettered access to the SLOC, along which India commands comfortable access to some critical choke  points, the Malacca Strait being the case in point. They, however, also seem overly concerned about possible Indian ASAT programme. The extent of their worry seems a tad bit disproportionate to the pronouncements one hears about Indian intentions on this matter. Based on what is available in the public domain, one understands that there are no active programmes to pursue its development, and any capabilities accumulated are a natural outcome of India's other Missile programmes. Would this concern, then, arise out of something they may've "stumbled upon"?

Additionally, one is also prompted to ask whether the current territorial violations one is witnessing on the LAC are China's attempts to force India to allocate greater funds to bolster its land capabilities, correspondingly leaving the Navy with lesser with which it can build itself?

Interestingly, of Indian Strategic community writings, she observes greater interest in China's military exports, than its latest military developments itself. This prioritisation is, IMO, an outcome of India's reading of the situation. It, perhaps, does not expect the PLA to start lobbing its own missiles at it under/despite current environment. Its exports to pakistan, which it now increasingly views from the prism of instability & terrorism 1, OTOH, hold a much greater possibility of being used against India. Increasing number of Chinese language experts in India that she spoke of should, starting in the near future, allow it to dwell into wider aspects of China's programmes, in greater details than may be the situation presently.

Lack of commonality in widely spoken language impedes greater first hand access to Chinese p.o.v. on matters pertaining to India. While ones views may differ w.r.t some inferences she draws during her talk, overall, this talk & the Q&A session following it, help gain greater understanding.

  • Her Talk
  • Q&A Session

via Monterey Institute of International Studies

  • Her presentation slides

This particular slide, below, especially stood out. This, she described as mentions of other Aerospace programmes in Chinese Scientific journals. As seen, Russian & Indian missile programmes were referred to a comparable number of times &, on more than one occasion, India's was mentioned more than Russia's. Would be interesting to learn of the context of their references, though. Greater clarity, then.



Also Read: Indian understanding of China [collection of writings]

Notes & Acronyms used:

ASAT - Anti-Satellite [Missile]

LAC - Line of Actual Control

PLA - People's Liberation Army

CPC - Communist Party of China

1 = "When I seen any mention now, I'd say of pakistan, they're talking about instability, terrorism issues, not these big picture questions"