News / Asia

China, India Expand Navies, Regional Ambitions

Indian navy ships during the President's Fleet Review (PFR) in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai, Dec. 20, 2011.
Indian navy ships during the President's Fleet Review (PFR) in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai, Dec. 20, 2011.
China and India are rapidly expanding their naval forces, increasing the possibility of future confrontation as Asia's two leading emerging economies seek to project their power.

India's navy chief, Admiral D.K. Joshi, this week called the modernization of China's naval forces "truly impressive" and a source of "major concern," pledging to protect Indian interests in the South China Sea.

China's rising power in the region is raising concerns in New Delhi that Beijing will try to dominate the Indian Ocean with a series of planned naval ports encircling India.

The official 2011 defense budget for China was $95.6 billion, compared to India's $31.9 billion.  But China analysts say Beijing's actual military spending for 2011 was at least $120 billion.

China announced an 11.2 percent increase in defense spending earlier this year, part of a decade-long expansion that has allowed China's ground, naval and air forces to embark on a sweeping modernization program.  India's naval advances, while less extensive, date back over a longer period.

"The Chinese navy has been expanding very rapidly in the last decade - far more so than the Indian navy.  China's [maritime forces are] more modern, but India's navy is more experienced," said Kym Bergmann, editor of Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter. 

"At the moment, they are fairly evenly matched.  But China is investing so much in naval capability that in another 4 to 5 years, they may have a substantial edge," Bergmann said.

Although China and India are not traditional sea powers, both countries have expanded their global ambitions, fueling the development of their navies.

Naval Strength - India v. ChinaNaval Strength - India v. China
x
Naval Strength - India v. China
Naval Strength - India v. China
China leads India in several key naval categories and by 2020 it is expected to have 73 large warships.  Last year, it acquired its first aircraft carrier.  India aims to have three carrier groups operating by that date, part of a larger fleet that would put it among the world's five biggest navies, according to The Economist magazine.

Australian National University defense analyst John Blaxland predicts that regional tensions will continue to rise in the South China Sea and that Beijing will not likely back down. 

"The oil and gas resources that are understood to be underneath the South China Sea are potentially massive.  And for a resource-starved country like China, they are too important for these little countries in Southeast Asia take from them," Blaxland said.

Mark Snowiss

Mark Snowiss is a Washington D.C.-based multimedia reporter.  He has written and edited for various media outlets including Pacifica and NPR affiliates in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @msnowiss and on Google Plus

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs