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China’s rising prominence in the global defense industry

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China has long been perceived as a problematic arms exporter, meaning that it has historically supplied weapons to countries that are on the United Nation’s bad books. These include rogue states such as North Korea and Iran.  Over the last decade, China has systematically rose as a significant arms provider and has moved from a donor of logistics and medical equipment to a critical provider of weapons and weapons systems.

China stripped Russia to grab the second spot only after the United States, in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) list of world’s largest arms producers.

The report was released on January 27 by the Swedish research center compiled “credible data” from 2015–17 on the value of arms sales by four major Chinese arms companies-

-China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC),

-China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC),

-Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), and

-North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO), 

The four companies account for sales, totaling $54.1 billion. This will place the firms among the top 20 military equipment manufacturers in the globe, putting China ahead of Russia in arms sales, behind only the US. SIPRI had excluded Chinese defense companies so far because the information on the country’s weapons manufacturing had been “unreliable” and “lacked transparency.” Furthermore, Chinese defense firms have now become top exporters, offering military equipments to countries across the world while giving their American counterparts tough competition.

Chinese arms export to Latin America

China’s leap forward came when Venezuela’s President the late Hugo Chavez, in his mission  to diversify arms supplies because of a fairly uncomfortable relationship with the United States, went to China for K-8 trainers and air search radars in 2008. In this way, the Chavez, and later Maduro, governments made broad military acquisitions from China, including transport airplane, armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery, some of which were deployed to crush dissenters in 2014.

The American government has been reluctant to transfer state-of-the-art hardware to Latin America, with just Chile and (two decades before Chavez came to office) Venezuela operating F-16s and no other modern US combat aircraft serving in the region. In fact, outside of the Chilean F-16 and some infantry gear, Latin American militaries are equipped with a stockpile of aging hardware in need of replacement. China’s ability and willingness to supply modern military gear at highly competitive prices makes purchases from it very appealing.

The Chinese has likewise been happy to offer to nations viewed as outcasts by American government and its allies –, for example, Venezuela and Bolivia – and it is eager to offer financing bundles as an extra incentive. It is this mix of political assurance to enter the market, an “agnostic” way to deal with systems, a preparation to supply the whole plenty of equipment with not many limitations and the utilization of Chinese monetary organizations to encourage the acquisition of military equipment that makes China a considerable force to reckon

Chinese military activity in Africa

The increasing presence of Chinese arms throughout much of Africa comes at a time when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is attempting to revamp its image through international engagement, deploying ever-increasing numbers to peacekeeping deployments throughout Africa. China is now the largest single contributor of personnel to UN peacekeeping, despite only having begun contributing to such operations in 1992. Although China has been a quiet economic presence in Africa for many years, building infrastructure at knock-down prices compared with Western actors, its engagement as a security player is still a work in progress.

It is, therefore, an excellent time to examine the growing Chinese role in Africa, contrasting its enthusiasm for peacekeeping with its increasing role as an international arms manufacturer. China has sold offshore patrol vessels and other complex naval vessels to nations, including Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, and Cameroon. To complement its sales of advanced arms, China has already built a large maintenance base in Africa with more in development. A naval base in Djibouti will soon be joined by aircraft maintenance and training facilities in Tanzania and the Republic of Congo.

From 2010 to 2015, China’s arms sale expanded by 143%, making the PRC the world’s third-biggest exporter of arms. 66% of African nations currently utilize arms made by China; from modest duplicates of small weapons to complex maritime vessels. Chinese weaponry has filled the market otherwise dominated by the modest Soviet weaponry that previously militarized numerous African countries. With most legacy Soviet surplus equipment now reaching the end of its practical service life, African countries sought alternative sources for the cheap defense equipment they need to maintain internal security which the Chinese readily provided.

Conclusion

In 2014, China had moved into the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) top-five arms exporters the first time, overtaking the United Kingdom. In general, between the period of 1998 and 2017, Chinese arms sales developed in volume by an amazing 211%, as per SIPRI. China’s defense budget, at US$150.2 billion in 2017, now ranks second only to that of the United States, much of it put to use in developing its defense industry. It is today capable of launching aircraft carriers and conducting research in quantum-technology communications.  

While some might associate China entirely with knock-offs, its growth as a defense manufacturer has been bolstered in recent years by its forays into more complex arms. The Chinese-Pakistani made K-8 Karakorum jet trainer is now in service with Egypt, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Sudan. The PRC claims with some pride that K-8s comprise 80% of the jet trainer aircraft in Africa. Along with it being an indigenous development, the K-8 is particularly notable due to the ease with which it can be converted over to a light-attack role for counterinsurgency operations.

Often considered one of the most advanced and complex areas of defense technology, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) development is also an area in which China is making significant strides, with the PRC’s International Aero Development Corporation leading the way. Some crucial weaknesses remain in its defense-industrial capabilities (such as in aircraft engines and combat-management systems, as well as naval propulsion systems), but the expectation is that China will be able to bridge these gaps in the not too distant future.

Niranjan Jose is a third-year law student pursuing BBA LLB from NLUO. He is a national level debater with a keen interest in International Relations. At law school, Jose has exposed himself to a variety of subjects such as Contemporary International Politics, International Monetary Economics, and International Trade law. He has presented papers at the 5th International Conference on Social Sciences 2018 and 7th International Conference on Asian Studies 2019 on the topics “Saudi-Iranian Cold War: Analysis and Implications” and “Turkey: Regional aspirations in the changing Middle East”. At NLUO, Jose hopes to further his understanding of foreign policy, as well as the intersection of public policy, politics, and international trade strategy. In his spare time, Jose enjoys traveling and is up for any place new.

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Defense

India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture

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In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.

India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.

India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.  

In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy.  Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation.  The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.

On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.

Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.  

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Defense

A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces

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The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.

The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.

The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.

This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.

Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.

Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.

Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.

Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.

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Defense

Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS

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Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.

According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”

Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.

Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.

According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.

The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.

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