Russia raises China toast for ‘Great Game’ in Indo Pacific

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China may further get an intimidating presence in the Indo Pacific with Russia also ramping up its naval assets to meet the emerging challenges.

Russian warship arrives in Yangon on November 2

Russian warship arrives in Yangon on November 2

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 21: Chinese President Xi Jinping was back in the News in the US. The media leak claimed that Xi had told US President Joe Biden that China will take Taiwan peacefully. China observers note that what is spoken by the Chinese leaders have historically been found to be of poor credibility, and India paid a dear price for double-speak of the Communist rulers of Beijing ahead of the 1962 War.

After Chinese naval assets bullied Australia recently, Phillipines has been at the receiving ends of Beijing browbeating the neighbouring countries. Reports claim that China is steadily ramping up its naval strength for the ‘Great Game’ in the Indo Pacific. The US remains distracted to affairs of the Middle East and Ukraine. Australia has historically been cold to rise to the challenges posed by China. Canada and the UK are battling instense domestic upheaveals to pay attention to protect the images of the bygone era.

China may further get an intimidating presence in the Indo Pacific with Russia also ramping up its naval assets to meet the emerging challenges. Xi and Vladimir Putin of Russia have committed to ties for the next century in their last summit in Moscow.

Mikhail Klimentyev in a column for ‘The Conversation’ has referred to the annual report of the US Department of Defence which stated that Chinese naval assets are now swelling with 30 new warships added to the fleet in the last 12 months. He underlined that China by 20230 will have 435 warships against the existing 370.

India in contrast currently has a fleet of 132 warships. India has a roadmap to increase the fleet to 175 by 20230. Reports suggested that Washington pressed on New Delhi to take an assertive role in the Indo Pacific during the last India-US 2+2 bilateral held in New Delhi.

Klimentyev stated in his report for ‘The Conversation’ that “China is not the only potentially adversarial maritime power that is flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific region. Russia is becoming a cause for concern…the Russian military is investing in replenishing its ageing Soviet-era Pacific Fleet. Between 2022 and October 2023, for instance, it commissioned eight new warships and auxiliaries, including four nuclear-powered and conventional submarines. On December 11, two new nuclear-powered submarines formally joined the fleet, in addition to the conventional RFS Mozhaisk submarine, which entered service last month.”

The Russian Navy maintains presence in the Arctic and Pacific oceans and Black and Baltic seas, besides its Caspian Sea flotilla, wrote Klimentyev, who added that “Russia’s war in Ukraine has not had a considerable impact on the Pacific Fleet’s ongoing modernisation or its various exercises and other activities. Between early 2022 and October 2023, for instance, the Pacific Fleet staged eight strategic-level naval exercises, in addition to numerous smaller-scale activities”.

Investigative journalist John Solomon in a post on X had reported the US had to dispatch navy destroyers after sighting the joint fleet of Russia and China near the Aleutian Islands in September this year. Russian warships after taking part in joint exercises with China had cruised to Myanmar and Bangladesh also in the recent months.





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