Chinese Navy, Marine Commandos Detected In Karachi, Pakistan; Should India Be Anxious?

Satellite images recently revealed that a Pakistani Navy air-cushion vehicle (ACV) advancing towards Manora beach in Karachi, Pakistan. It has also come to the fore that the Pakistani vessel was carrying Pakistani and Chinese marine commandos.

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The troops who were deployed at the beach stood side by side which is a non-combat formation but still managed to gran a lot of media attention.

The joint exercise called Sea Guardians, as earlier reported by the EurAsian Times, is one of the many exchanges between Pakistan and China took place in January 2020 and once again highlighted the close relationship between Islamabad and Beijing with the latter being a major supplier of arms to the former in recent times.

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Pakistan deployed two F-22P frigates, two missile boats, and several aircraft while China deployed an air defense destroyer, a frigate, a replenishment ship Weishanhu and a submarine rescue ship.

The close relationship can be ascertained from the fact that the Chinese side deployed an air defence destroyer and a frigate and a replenishment ship near the container terminal rather than the Pakistan Navy base.

The 7500-ton Chinese destroyer was Type-052D Luyang-III class ship Yuchuan which is equipped with HHQ-9 long -range surface to air missiles and cruise missiles along with large phased-array radars that are similar to the United States Navy’s AEGIS destroyer.  The Chinese Navy has 8 such destroyers and is building more.

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The frigate was Type-054A Jiangkai-II class ship Yuncheng (571) which is one out of the 30 Chinese frigates and is armed with surface to air missile similar to Russia’s Buk surface to air missiles and anti ship missiles. Chinese Navy also deployed a Type-039B Yuan Class submarine rescue ship and a replenishment ship.

China is supplying 8 of the above-mentioned submarines to its all-weather ally Pakistan with China and Pakistan each building 4. Pakistan does not have a rescue submarine and is expected to order another 8 such submarines taking the fleet size to 16. The exercise is believed to have given Pakistan a much closer look at the submarine’s capacity.

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China had claimed that the exercise was meant to consolidate the relationship with Pakistan and to enhance the capabilities of the two navies to jointly cope with maritime terrorism and crime and had stressed that the exercise had nothing to do with the regional situation and isn’t meant to target any third party.

Experts talking to the EurAsian times stated that India will be looking at the exercises with apprehension considering China has been expanding its presence in the Indian ocean and in September last year the Indian Navy had driven out a Chinese ship from India’s exclusive economic zone warning the Chinese that any such activity in the future will be dealt sternly.

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The Arabian Sea also provides entry into the Indian Ocean where China has built a logistics base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. The Arabian Sea is also extremely important because India has major ports including Kandla, Okha, Mumbai, Nhava Sheva, Mormugao, New Mangalore and Kochi located in the region.

India’s apprehensions are justified given China’s record for not following international laws. Beijing has blatantly disregarded the verdict of the international tribunal over its maritime boundary dispute with the Philippines. Beijing in violation of the verdict has continued to maintain a military presence in what is internationally regarded as Philippines territorial waters.

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As EurAsian Times reported earlier, China and Indonesia had almost come to blows after China provided a military escort to its vessel near the waters of Indonesia’s Natuna Island. After repeated failed requests to China to desist from such hostile behavior, President Joko Widodo had to dispatch a warship with F-16 fighter jets to protect its territorial waters.

China also unilaterally considers Vietnam’s territorial waters as its own. China also has several similar disputes with Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Brunei.

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Via: Open Source defence Analyst and H I Sutton for Forbes