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Antony sees Chinese shipping bypassing Indian blockade

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by ManuSankar, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. ManuSankar

    ManuSankar Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Antony sees Chinese shipping bypassing Indian blockade

    One morning in 1999, the tiny Canadian village of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean awoke to a surprise. Parked off the coast was a Chinese icebreaker ship, the Xue Long, mocking Ottawa’s pretensions of control over its northern waters. China is not even amongst the eight Arctic countries — Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the US (Alaska), Iceland, Denmark (Greenland) and Canada itself — that claim the Arctic’s fabled hydrocarbon reserves, and the rapidly opening Arctic shipping lanes. But Beijing knows that global warming is melting the Arctic ice cap; and it is readying to exploit this, both commercially and militarily.

    This growing capability threatens Indian strategy in a war with China. Defence analysts point to India's two-fold strategy: defending the land border in the north with the army and the air force; while using the Indian Navy to block China’s commercial and military shipping in the Indian Ocean. India’s coastal airfields, especially in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and its proximity to the choke points of Malacca and Sunda in southeast Asia and the Straits of Hormuz and Aden in West Asia will allow the Indian Navy to impose a strangling economic blockade on China.

    But this is not possible if Chinese shipping transits through the Arctic routes, which bypass the Indian Ocean. On Monday, at an international maritime seminar in New Delhi, Defence Minister A K Antony expressed concern, saying: “The possible melting of the polar ice caps will have tectonic consequences for our understanding of what maritime domains constitute ‘navigable’ oceans of the world. Specific to Asia and the Indian Ocean Region, there may be a need to reassess concepts like chokepoints and critical sea lines of communication (SLOCs).â€

    Global warming has created the new SLOCs that Antony refers to. Arctic winter temperatures have risen by more than seven degrees over the last six decades. The resulting thinner ice melts easily during summer. In the unusually warm summer of 2007 the Arctic ice cap shrunk by a million square miles. Advanced scientific models presented at the American Geophysical Union in 2007 anticipated an ice-free Arctic summer by 2013.

    The melting ice is opening two Arctic sea routes: the Northwest Passage connects the Northern Atlantic, through Canada’s northern islands, with the Northern Pacific Ocean. In September, 2008, the MV Camilla Desgagnes became the first commercial ship to traverse the Northwest Passage, with the crew reporting that it “did not see one cube of ice.†More relevant to China is the Northern Sea Route, which connects the North Atlantic, passing north of Russia, to the North Pacific and then to the South China Sea. This not just bypasses any Indian ambushes in the Indian Ocean but also reduces the distance from northern Europe to Japan by over 40 per cent, from 21,000 kilometres to just 12,000 kilometres.

    In a Financial Times article in January 2008, Professor Robert Wade of the London School of Economics revealed that China “has lately displayed special interest in relations with Iceland, the tiny island in the north Atlantic, which with its strategic location is believed to get a key role in future shipping in the region. China wants to start shipping containers in the north, and sees the deep-sea ports of Iceland as potential port bases.â€

    China is harnessing a global maritime trend. Just as trans-polar routes revolutionised air travel, the melting of Arctic ice caps is revolutionising commercial shipping. Shipping companies worldwide have already built close to 500 ice-class ships and more are on order.

    But China also recognises the strategic and military advantage of an alternative route for its commercial shipping. Beijing has set up the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, to oversee polar research and expeditions. This maintains an outpost, the Yellow River Station, in Norway’s Spitsbergen Archipelago. It bought the Xue Long, just as it bought its first aircraft carrier, the Varyag, from Ukraine and then spent 31 million Yuan ($5 million) to make it polar-capable. The Xue Long has made four major research trips into the Arctic, the most recent one last year.

    With competing claims and counter-claims over waters, the Arctic is seeing a growing military presence. Scott Borgerson revealed in Foreign Affairs magazine that, after the UN rejected Russia’s claim to almost half a million square miles of Arctic waters, “the Kremlin dispatched a nuclear-powered ice-breaker and two submarines to plant its flag on the North Pole’s sea floor. Days later the Russians provocatively ordered strategic bomber flights over the Arctic Ocean for the first time since the Cold War.â€

    Antony sees Chinese shipping bypassing Indian blockade
     
  2. tilopa

    tilopa Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    chinese think 2 steps ahead
    dont expect babus to do anything
     
  3. sanman

    sanman Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    Canada has no means to defend its northern sovereignty claims.

    Meanwhile, if China transits through the northern arctic circle, all they can do is travel to northern Europe and Russia. Europe has no great amount of oil to export, and China already has a border with Russia. It's upto Russia on whether they'll give oil to China during any conflict with India.

    The castration/Finlandization of Japan also gives China more latitude in northern waters. If the Japanese step up, then China won't have such an easy time.
     
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  4. TereBinLaden

    TereBinLaden Captain STAR MEMBER

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    Sukhlaji's comments are some times very critical to summarise.
     
  5. Skull and Bones

    Skull and Bones Doctor Death Staff Member MODERATOR

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    I don't think anything can be done on this front.
     
  6. ManuSankar

    ManuSankar Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    A picture of Northern sea route

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Anish

    Anish Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    What can IN do?
    With current govt. NOTHING
     
  8. sanman

    sanman Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    India can control the Southern route, and Japan can control the Northern route. We can't do everything ourselves.
     
  9. ManuSankar

    ManuSankar Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    There is not much we can do about it any way.At present the amount of commercial shipments passing through this route is negligible(only 34 ships last year).But in future that is bound to increase.So we must plan for the future.Modernizing Navy and improving our relations with Arctic countries will be steps towards right direction.
     
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