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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid