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The Navy of the Future: Classics, Science-Fiction, Contractors

The guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville during a replenishment-at-sea with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Harris/U.S. Navy/Flickr
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The renewed rivalry between the world powers, almost formally dubbed the second Cold War now, could not but fuel the development of new weapons and military equipment. Naval forces chose not to stand on the side-lines of this new race, despite a certain conservatism of the hardware they employ, which is predicated on the life cycle these products. Incidentally, many questions that the new round of technological advancement is set to answer were first raised back in the 19th century, and these questions remain relevant to this day.

Leaders in the Race

The guidelines for the development of national naval forces across the world, both today and in the foreseeable future, are governed by the rivalry between the United States and China.

The naval part of this confrontation is characterized by opposite trends in the development of their respective fleets, while the countries focus on similar approaches in exploring new types of weapons and military equipment.

Let us examine the main features that determine the similarities and differences in the American and Chinese approaches. In terms of similarities, both sides pay considerable attention to the development of new types of naval weapons and equipment, such as unmanned surface and submersible vessels, unmanned aerial vehicles, hypersonic missiles, laser and electromagnetic weapon systems, etc. An undeniable similarity lies in the level of attention that both countries devote to upgrading naval aviation (both carrier- and shore-based) and expeditionary forces, even despite the difference in their current standing with these components, where the United States has been the unconditional leader for many decades. Meanwhile, China has only joined the race this past decade after floating out its first two aircraft carriers and a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship.

The differences are just as striking: the approaches to the development of the naval components of both countries are diametrically opposed to one another. The concept of the shipbuilding programme implemented by the People’s Liberation Army Navy is primarily based on building blue-water surface ships: the pace of building large destroyers and cruisers resembles the shipbuilding efficiency typical for the great maritime nations prior to World War II. Suffice to say that during the past decade, China’s PLA Navy has received, on top of other equipment, a total of 20 capital ships without aviation capability, including 19 destroyers and the first “large destroyer” of new type 055, which many experts classify as a missile cruiser, plus two aircraft carriers. The United States, in addition to other armaments, got 11 destroyers and one aircraft carrier, thus yielding the lead in the construction of capital surface ships for the first time since World War II, even though the country is still able to retain notable superiority over China in the number of such ships and in the overall capabilities of the blue-water navy.

In the next few years, the United States intends to ramp up the commissioning of new ships, but its priority, according to a recent statement by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, is to develop light naval forces. The United States will resume building frigates (the U.S. Navy has no frigates today after decommissioning of the last Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships), small and medium amphibious assault ships for island operations, other small surface combatants, including optionally manned and unmanned vessels, and finally light aircraft carriers, whose price forces the U.S. Navy to consider cutting their number.

Furthermore, the two countries demonstrate continued differences in the concept of their operations. It would appear that China adheres to the Soviet take on the role and place of aircraft carriers, whose first priority is to ensure the combat stability of the navy outside the reach of shore-based fighter jets. The strike capabilities of naval forces are concentrated in the missile armament of destroyers, cruisers and submarines.

In this context, media sources and experts continue to debate the future development of this class of ships by the PLA Navy and the rate at which it rolls out new elements of aircraft carrier technology. It was thought that the third Chinese aircraft-capable ship would be nuclear-powered, but experts now agree that it will have a conventional propulsion system.

One more issue at large is China’s readiness to introduce another important element of the latest carrier technology, namely, electromagnetic catapults. Some media sources have reported that PLA Navy had been planning to restrict the size of their carrier force to four ships and would start building a fifth after a number of essential technologies have been developed.

In the United States, carrier-based aircraft continue to play the role of the main strike power within the Navy’s general purpose forces, but this is also starting to change. First off, the development of light forces and their weapons under the Distributed Lethality concept will inevitably inflate the role of surface combatants, especially in the frigate/destroyer class. Secondly, the role of shore-based aviation is becoming more essential. For example, the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircrafts can be effectively employed against surface combatants, just like the U.S. Air Force strategic bombers B-1B carrying LRASM anti-ship cruise missiles.

The development of mine warfare by the United States and allied naval forces is another important trend: the amount of investment in new mine warfare technologies is growing, along with the capabilities of mine weapons. The allies focus on the development of smart naval mines that can form consistent sweeping-proof mine barriers and are capable of blocking enemy fleets inside their home stations or isolating the combat zone, thus throttling the most probable lines of approach. Mine countermeasures have also seen some substantial development, and the number of unmanned mine-sweeping systems, both surface-operated and submersible, is growing fast. This will possibly make mine warfare and mine countermeasures the initial fault line in the sea, where most operations will be carried out without the direct involvement of human operators.

Gaining a Foothold

The United States may have lost out to China in terms of overall strength at sea in 2019, but it retained its leadership in the number of capital ships. Today, however, it continues to rely on elements other than combat units.

The current progress in all of the nation’s armed services lies in the development of new-generation combat control systems that enable real-time communications among different detection devices, control facilities and weapon carrying systems.

The further development of these systems indicates that the United States is creating a “digital battlespace,” looking to make a quantum leap in increasing the awareness of commanding officers in the field and reducing the decision-making time to negligible values.

The key projects in this area are implemented under the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) programme, which is geared towards uniting all the detection and target acquisition systems employed across the U.S. Armed Forces into a single network. Cross-branch interoperation capabilities have been traditionally limited due to the differences in architecture of existing control systems. Establishing the chain of command, coordinating plans and assigning tasks often took days to accomplish when cross-branch coordination was required. By its design, the JADC2 project will render all processes automatic and reduce the required coordination time from hours to minutes, and in some instances to seconds.

JADC2 envisages the development of a cloud-based platform for exchanging data transmitted via numerous communication networks to fast-track the decision-making process. The project team uses commercial online taxi services as the grassroots model for the JADC2. Under the programme, new control systems are being developed for individual armed services, many of which are already in the trial phase. The key outcome of these trials is the capability to automate data exchange among different platforms that were not originally designed as interoperable systems: for example, Marine Corps fighter jets and Army howitzers, or U.S. Navy destroyers and Army multiple rocket launcher systems, etc.

The development of a new generation of radars for both maritime and aviation navigation systems, including orbital, reconnaissance (including space reconnaissance assets), command and control, and data exchange systems (also involving space vehicles) and weapons capable of real-time receipt and modification of target acquisition data from remote sources, as well as the development of the “digital battlespace” with the heavy interoperation with unmanned aerial vehicles, and the employment of new air-to-air and air-to-surface controlled weapon systems—all this leads us to the conclusion that the United States and a number of other developed nations are gradually and consistently shaping a new type of combat environment, most importantly in the air.

Its pivotal differences from the existing environment are represented by the spike in the level of situational awareness, along with increased analysis capabilities and reduced decision-making time.

Arctic Reflections

The U.S.–China standoff at sea should not eclipse the processes that are more obvious to Russian readers, namely the development of the Russian Navy that is also unfolding in the context of the renewed adversarial relationship with the West. The key element of this confrontation is the fundamental economic imbalance that pushes weapons designers in Russia to look for unorthodox solutions.

It is safe to say that the key trend in the evolution of the Russian Navy is the enhancement of missile weapons, from air defence to strategic missile systems, as well as the development of submarine and special operations forces that are meant, on one hand, to ensure the deployment of the national naval component in the most comfortable conditions and, on the other hand, to make similar deployment by the adversary as challenging as possible.

In this regard, the focus is on designing domestic combat and surveillance unmanned underwater vehicles and stationary underwater acoustic surveillance systems, as well as on developing new technologies for locating enemy submarines and surface ships that enable early detection of such units in a conflict zone and employ both existing and prospective missile weaponry. This development resonates with the ongoing effort to rehabilitate infrastructure along the coast and on the islands of the Arctic Ocean, which is once again becoming an arena of confrontation, like it was during the first Cold War.

To some extent, the current developments in the Arctic may be viewed as a reflection of the U.S.–China showdown in the west of the Pacific. Just like China, Russia has an infrastructural advantage in the vicinity of its continental territory (with its “Arctic” hang, which includes a robust icebreaker fleet) and a larger force deployed in the theatre of operations. At the same time, NATO’s overall supremacy over Russia is more significant than that of the United States and its allies over China in the Far East, making Russia fear the outcome of a potential conflict in this area.

Such an awareness of the inadequacies of Russia’s Armed Forces dictates that the country turn back to the operational strategic approaches employed in similar situations in the past. As a result, the defence system that is now being deployed in the Arctic region to set up the bastions, (so-called “Protected Operating Area” in Russian military terms), may be compared with the central mine and artillery position that the Baltic fleet was primarily tasked to develop and defend during the First World War, now adjusted for geography and technological advancement. The transformation of this concept depends not only on the future development of the Russian economy and the creation of new types of weapons, but also on the evolution of views on the naval force, which Russia has seen for more than a hundred years as an auxiliary asset, rather than an independent strategic element.

Who is Next?

Speaking of trends in the development of naval forces in second- and third-world countries, we chiefly point out their dependence on cooperation with one of the leaders (or balancing between them), and this aspect largely governs the series of technological and operational solutions. It is important, though, that this mostly applies to countries that are not among the top five, and often not among the top ten largest naval powers.

There are several common trends in this context. For instance, a number of countries are showing increasing interest in deploying shore-based maritime patrol aviation. The market offers several light aircraft of this class today—typically redesigned turbo-prop passenger planes used for local flights or light military transport aircraft, such as ATR-42/72, С-212, 235, 295 and others.

In this case, relatively inexpensive and commonly used local-fight (less often medium-range) airliners and business jets are used in maritime patrol aviation. With this approach, even relatively poor countries can purchase individual units or small sets of such airplanes, thus being able to control their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. For major powers, this approach, combined with the use of long-rage radar detection aircraft, opens the door for building special operations wings and setting up major anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) zones with a robust control and target acquisition systems, depending on the country’s economic capacity and views on existing threats.

Speaking of ships, in the vast majority of cases, secondary naval powers do not trouble themselves with building a balanced and self-sustainable naval element, which would be an extremely expensive initiative. Instead, they focus primarily on coastal defence systems with the deployment of individual components for operations in offshore maritime zones and blue-water theatres, predominantly as part of a coalition.

This dependence on coalitions, coupled with the constant need for support from arms and military equipment vendors, who rarely permit self-maintenance by the end user, makes such second- and third-world countries rely on the aid provided by coalition leaders, thus severely limiting their room for manoeuvre. Incredible as it may seem, “freedom of action” in this regard is directly proportional to the age of the available materiel: more often than not, nations that own ships and weapons dating back to the Cold War times already know how to service, maintain and even manufacture some component parts, or they can make up for any parts needed from the vast and hard-to-control “grey” market of weapons and components of the 1970–1990s that were supplied in abundance by certain satellites of the Cold War superpowers. The upgrade or replacement of the old fleet often turns into a honeytrap, increasing the efficiency of their weapons, on one hand, and severely narrowing their leeway on the other. They certainly understand the situation and see the acquisition of military equipment, especially something as complex and expensive as combatant ships and their weapon systems, as a political step, with all that such steps may entail for the decision-making process.

Could we take the next logical step and say that buying these complex weapons systems today also means choosing which military coalition to joint in the future, which is no less important for understanding the prospects of war at sea than the development of naval equipment per se? Perhaps this point of view can at the very least be seen as having its reasons.

From our partner RIAC

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Defence in the new age of AtmaNirbhar Bharat

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Authors: Dr. Manan Dwivedi and Shonit Nayan*

Make in India is an all pervasive, all subsuming and all intrinsic entity to the new trajectory of innovation and development which the nation is adhering to with hits larger idiom of becoming a super power by 2047, with the other name being the nomenclature of indigeneity. India has been strengthened both symbolically and materially through the modicum of its G-20 Presidency and its role as a non-permanent members of the hallowed portals of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with the entire conceptualization of the concept of human security, which itself takes us back to our Vedic and the Sanatani past.

               As a neophyte when one dwelt inside as a kid into the tales of the long gestation time periodswhich go into acquiring new weapons technology and weaponry itself for the nation’s Defense forces, several rudimentary efforts have been in sway by the New Delhi denomination. The manner in which the TATA’s are tying up with the Boeing and the Airbus industries and the pace at which Adani has partnered with Lockheed Martin, makes a concerned citizen get up and take notice. There was a manner in which stories percolated to us that by the time a particularly potent weapon system would be operationalized by the military, it would have turned outmoded and obsolete. Still, the more optimists amongst us can avail of the pride that now the New Delhi dispensation has made it clear to the Global Defense investment and manufacturing interests that the foreign firms have to establish manufacturing hubs and nodes if they want to emerge as the key exports to the Indian Defense establishment. Also, as an attendant fact, the tangible narrative ascertains that the foreign firms would be free to export Defense weaponry to the foreign nations too while manufacturing in the country.

As an instance, Tejas is a single engine, Delta wing and multirole fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development agency with the Hindustan Aeronautics Agency, they are meant to replace the aging fleet of MIG-21’s in order to improve the aggressive and defense outreach of the Indian Air force and Indian Navy.  The Tejas are part of the extension of the LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) which seeks to bring India in parity with few forces and their defense establishments. Keeping in view the fact and the attendant practice of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the new Tejas Mark 1 an aircraft carries 40 improvements over the Tejas aircraft built in 2015. Thus, the canny optimists amongst us can hope for better and ebullient news as far as the LCA and other procured and ingeniously manufactured weaponry is concerned. One need not relegate to the backburner the fact that the weaponry aid to the besieged Ukraine has stymied and effectively blocked the invading force of Moscow. With the Ukrainian President Zeklensky clamoring for more state of the art armaments such as the Leopard tanks from Poland and Germany, the significance kill potential of advanced machinery and their tell tale application serves as the “ differential “ between  a military and Defense victory or a debacle and a defeat.

Self reliance in defense production has been one of the key attributes of the Indian defense Policy since the 1960’s. In the 2018 make in India defense programme there is an added emphasis on theskill enhancement and the technological expertise of the employees in the Aerospace and the Defense industry. The Defence Production Policy further elaborates and relates that, “Centres of Excellence with industry participation and with Government support, will be set up in niche areas to enable development of frontier technology areas with active involvement of academia and R&D institutions. 19.7 Competitive funded prototyping will be pursued during the design process to address the multiple challenges of technical feasibility, affordability, producibility and supportability.”

The Defense Production Department seeks to spawn a qualified and comprehensive production infrastructure in order to prepare weapons and platforms of the order of tanks. Fighter- multirole jets, helicopters, submarines, earth moving equipment, armored vehicles and heavy vehicles to add teeth and robustness to the Indian Defense establishment with the added carrot to the foreign investors who can further on export their weapons wares to other nations too with Indian stations serving as the manufacturing hub for the larger region. Thus, expediency, returns and self reliance all amalgamate into pitchforking India into the larger firmament of Defense production and Trade. Still, it needs to be emphasized that AtmaNirbharta does not contain itself into the constraints of plane jane self reliance but the entire vision of the conceptualization earmarks the new found perch and confidence of a rising India. It’s also a striving to let us relegate to the backburner, the dark shadows of Colonialism and place an end to the slave mindset of the nation’s hoi polloi and make them and the defense industry to gel with global innovation currents along with the stress on comprehensive citizenship.

*Mr. Shonit Nayan is a Programme Fellow at India Smart City Fellowship Program, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs

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What is behind the Recalibration of Japanese Security Policy?

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image source: Lockheed Martin

On December 16th, 2022, the Japanese cabinet approved three crucial national security documents: 1) National Security Strategy, 2) National Defense Strategy, and 3) Defense Buildup Program. The documents collectively identify challenges and threats to Japan’s security and propose counteractive measures to be undertaken during the next five years, essentially marking a paradigm shift in Japan’s security policy and military posture.

The transformation: according to new policy documents, Japan would increase its defense spending to meet NATO’s standard of 2% of GDP by 2027 meanwhile spending a sum of $314 billion during the period on defense buildup. For the first time in decades, Japan would acquire long-range “counterstrike” capability to deter attacks besides pledging grand investments in developing cyber and space capabilities. To bolster counterstrike capability, Japan would acquire more F-35 aircraft capable of vertical landing and would invest in developing hypersonic weapons, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), and 6th generation fighter jets — last in collaboration with Britain and Italy.

From its humiliating defeat in World War II until the 1970s, Japan maintained a low military profile and relied on the USA’s security umbrella for its defense. During the 1970s, Soviet military buildup in the Pacific and the USA’s growing engagements elsewhere compelled Japan to increase its military spending and by the end of the Cold War, Japan has transformed itself into the “world’s foremost military powers”. The steady buildup of military capabilities continued through the unipolar era given the regional threats — especially those emanating from North Korea and to some extent China — did not subside in all respects. 

Changing Japan’s security outlook via revising Article 9 of the Japanese constitution has long been a goal of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which considers Japan’s constitution as reminiscent of WWII defeat and subsequent occupation by the USA. Nevertheless, the memories of Japan’s militaristic past and its aftermath long haunted the Japanese public, which remained vociferously averse to any such emendation. Therefore, despite having a two-thirds majority at one time, Liberal Democratic Party under the late Shinzo Abe as prime minister fell short of introducing any changes to Japan’s constitution.

The Abe government, however, did reinterpret the constitution and initiated a makeover of Japan’s security posture during its eight years reign (2012-2020). As James Stavridis puts it, “Shinzo Abe’s real legacy is military, not economic”. In 2014, the Abe government authorized Japanese troops to act in aid of an under-attack ally. The same year, Abe relaxed the ban on the export of arms, however with the caveat that the exports would only be allowed if they “contributed to the global peace”.

In 2018, the Abe government created National Security Council, which significantly enhanced Prime Minister’s authority in security affairs. Besides making institutional and organizational changes, Abe’s era saw a steady increase in Japanese defense spending by leveraging the country’s economy, which remains third biggest in the world. Tokyo acquired cutting-edge weaponry including missile defense systems, new-generation radars capable of detecting targets at a long-range, and fifth-generation F-35 fighters, mostly from the USA.

The recent policy documents mark the culmination of Shinzo Abe’s nearly decade-long efforts and essentially purpose to transform Japanese security posture from pacifist to more assertive. Propitiously for the Liberal Democratic Party, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, public opinion in Japan has reportedly shifted in favor of changes in security policy.

On the top of the internal predisposition to get away with the memories of WWII humiliation, the external security environment of Japan is also undergoing unprecedented changes, which made the aforementioned modifications inevitable.

China — categorized as the “greatest strategic challenge” in the Japanese National Security Strategy — now wields the world’s largest navy by the number of vessels and is speedily expanding to its military footprint in the Western Pacific. Likewise, nuclear-armed North Korea — classified as a threat in the NSS — has grown in belligerence as well as the capabilities. The communist aloof country conducted the highest number of ballistic missile tests during 2022 — one of which flew over Japan last October. Moreover, Russia has recently added Japan to the list of unfriendly countries after Tokyo joined Western sanctions against Russia. Moscow is not only increasing its military presence in the Pacific but is carrying out joint naval drills and air patrols with Beijing evoking anxieties in Tokyo. It goes without saying that the security environment for Japan has become more challenging and complicated than 1970s.

Although the USA has been trying to reorient itself towards the primary theater of Great Power rivalry i.e. Western Pacific, the transformed European security environment owing to war in Ukraine would likely inhibit the Washington’s unqualified reorientation towards the Pacific. Moreover, despite Japan under Abe smartly weathered the Trump assault against the US allies, the eccentric real estate tycoon did galvanize Japanese leadership to be prepared for another isolationist inhabiting the Oval Office. Hence the intent to share more burden in the alliance besides taking an assertive role in the regional security matters.

In essence, Japan now seeks to assume primary responsibility for its security meanwhile enjoying the shelter of the USA’s security umbrella and extended deterrence. At the same time, Japan is exploring options beyond the alliance with USA by expanding military partnerships and collaboration with other likeminded countries. The project to develop 6th generation fighter jet in collaboration with Britain and Italy, and the recent military drills with India underscore Japan’s inclination to expand its military partnerships beyond Washington.  

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The US tanks deal to Ukraine and the Sino-Russian military alliance

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Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, image by the Presidential Press and Information Office, the Kremlin, via Wikipedia

After the warnings of the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, “Medvedev”, of the possibility of establishing a Russian-Chinese military alliance against Washington, the most important questions and analyzes that arise in this regard revolve in their entirety around:

Will Russia implement its threats to establish that alliance?

What are the countries likely to ally with Russia to confront America?

And in the event that Russia implements its threats against the United States of America by establishing that joint military alliance with China, does this mean a weakening of American hegemony in world politics?

Then, what is the relationship of the tank deal that the United States and Germany intend to send to Ukraine with the order of that joint military alliance between China and Russia, and does China really accept a solid and joint military alliance in confronting Washington militarily?

  In order to answer these questions, we will find that there is already an existing and joint strengthening of military cooperation between the Chinese and Russian sides, through Russian President “Putin” stressing to his Chinese counterpart “Xi Jinping” the importance of geo-strategic cooperation and technical-military cooperation between the two countries in the wake of the “interaction joint maneuvers” in 2022 between the two countries, which took place in the East China Sea in December 2022, with the assertion of the commander of the Russian forces participating in the joint military exercises with China, that it comes as a response to the violent increase in the number of US forces present in the Indo-Pacific region in the American concept or the Asia-Pacific region in the Chinese and Russian concept. This means that Russia is ready to cooperate closely with Beijing, in response to the American efforts to surround China, through the establishment of American military and technological alliances to confront China, such as the American quadruple alliance with India, Japan and Australia, or through the US nuclear defense Okus alliance with Australia and Britain, or from  Through Washington’s military support for Taiwan in the face of Beijing and the increase in US arms and military equipment sales to the Taiwanese side, which arouses China’s ire.

   In recent years, China has also taken the initiative to enhance cooperation between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Russian Armed Forces by conducting joint exercises and coordinated patrols in the area around Japan.  As for the Chinese army, its cooperation with the Russian army and the Russian armed forces would contribute significantly to the implementation of the military, security and defense reforms that Chinese President “Xi Jinping” seeks to achieve, which aims to transform the Chinese People’s Liberation Army into one of the largest fighting forces in the world to be comparable in strength to the US Army.

 We find that there is already existing and joint military cooperation between the Chinese and Russian parties in the field of joint military exercises, which has witnessed a clear increase in the recent period, and this cooperation in the security and defense field between China and Russia has acquired clear geopolitical connotations. In May 2022, China and Russia conducted joint sorties and air maneuvers over the Sea of ​​Japan and the East China Sea, which coincided with the summit of the leaders of the Quadruple Strategic Dialogue, known as “Quad” in Japan, which is a forum for political cooperation through which Washington seeks to turn it into a military alliance against China.  Therefore, the joint maneuvers of Moscow and Beijing came to confirm that the two countries are cooperating militarily in the face of Washington’s attempt to establish military alliances against them, on top of which is the US Aukus nuclear defense alliance with Australia and Britain in the face of China.

 Also, all the recent summits that took place between Beijing and Moscow focused, in their entirety, on Russian military cooperation with Beijing, as well as the two parties meeting to strengthen their strategic partnerships in the face of Western threats, and on their intention and desire to establish a multipolar international system, with what that means in the end. The US-dominated world order, which Washington seeks to respond to by pushing the NATO military alliance to adopt policies to besiege the Chinese and Russian countries.

 China and Russia have conducted several joint military exercises in the Chinese Shandong Peninsula, and they were mainly focused on anti-terrorism exercises, and it was agreed after that to conduct peace mission exercises annually under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which consists of (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan).

 Then this was followed by several joint naval exercises that took place on a permanent basis, and it was called joint seas exercises and maneuvers (or a joint Russian-Chinese naval interaction, as the Russians called it), and it was mainly concentrated in the Yellow Sea region off the Chinese Shandong Peninsula, with the participation of many  Warships from both countries, in exercises simulating joint air defense, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue missions.  Since then, joint seas exercises have been held annually between the Chinese and Russian sides (except for 2020), and their content is constantly changing.  Since 2013, the geographical scope of the Russian-Chinese exercises has expanded, to include areas outside the immediate periphery of China, including Europe, and in chronological order those locations were:

  (Sea of ​​Japan in 2013, East China Sea exercises in 2014, Mediterranean and Sea of ​​Japan in 2015, South China Sea in 2016, Baltic Sea and Sea of ​​Japan in 2017, South China Sea in 2018, Yellow Sea in 2019, Sea of ​​Japan in 2021)       

 China also participated in the “Russian Vostok joint military exercises” in 2018, which were held in the Eastern Military District of Russia and about 3,200 Chinese soldiers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army participated.  The Chinese and Russian militaries also carry out coordinated and periodic military missions in the geographical and territorial area surrounding the seas and in the airspace around Japan.  Most of the joint military exercises and missions between China and Russia take place in the eastern part of the Sea of ​​Japan, through the northern Tsugaru Strait (between Honshu and Hokkaido regions), along the Pacific coast of Japan, and then west through the Osumi Strait in southern Kagoshima Prefecture.

 The main objective of conducting such military maneuvers between China and Russia, as declared by both parties, remains to unite forces against the United States of America and its allies, especially after its strained relations with both countries.  In addition to Russia’s dispute with the United States of America and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.  Recently, US tensions with Russia have exacerbated, due to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine.

 Bearing in mind that Chinese President Xi Jinping did not respond directly to Russia’s desire for joint military cooperation, but merely referred to Beijing’s willingness to increase strategic cooperation with Russia.  At the same time, there are US assurances that Washington has not monitored any indications of Chinese support for Russia in its war against Ukraine, unlike the case with North Korea and Iran, which Washington has accused of providing Moscow with ammunition and drones.

  Here the message of the Russian President “Putin” to his Chinese counterpart “Xi Jinping” by expressing Russia’s desire for a military rapprochement between the two countries to confront what he called unprecedented Western pressure, with President Putin affirming the right of the two countries to preserve their positions, principles, and aspirations to build a just international order, in a Russian reference to the multipolar system, which will mark the end of American unipolarity, the Russian side assured its Chinese counterpart that military cooperation between the Chinese and Russian sides will support international peace and security.

 Here, Washington expresses its concern about such cooperation, which may cover any shortage of military supplies that Russia needs to continue its war against Ukraine. It was remarkable that Western officials ignored this time threatening China if it sought military cooperation with Russia.

  There is an official Chinese assertion through the official Chinese government media affiliated with the ruling Communist Party, that Beijing will continue to adhere to its objective and fair position on the war in Ukraine, which is based on the fact that the West caused this conflict by insisting on spreading NATO bases to countries located in the immediate vicinity from the Russian borders, which is in line with and confirms the Russian point of view, and contradicts its Western counterpart, which views the Russian-Ukrainian war as an assault by Moscow on a sovereign country.

 We will find that after the summit talks between President Xi Jinping and Putin (shortly before Russia started its invasion of Ukraine), both the Chinese and Russian sides oppose further NATO expansion, and stand against the formation of closed blocs and opposing camps in the Asia-Pacific region.  In this way, China signaled its support for Russia in its power struggle with NATO against Washington and the West.

 On the other side, the economic and military cooperation between China and Russia has also been increased, since the start of the Russian military operation against Ukraine in February 2022, despite the United States’ threat to Beijing at the beginning of the war, to work to help the Russian economy find alternatives that help it avoid the repercussions of Western sanctions,  However, it became clear that Beijing did not heed these American threats.

 Here, China and Russia succeeded in arousing Washington’s military wrath, through Moscow conducting several multilateral maneuvers with the participation of China and India at the end of 2022, in order to confirm that Washington’s attempts to militarily weaken the relationship between Moscow, New Delhi, and Beijing will not succeed.

 Hence, we can say that the relations between Russia and China have witnessed a remarkable growth in the military aspects in recent times, exceeding the limit of statements to the level of action and practical moves in the Indo-Pacific region or the Pacific and Indian oceans, as a joint Russian-Chinese response to confront the US alliances with its regional allies.  In that region, accusing the American side of seeking and targeting the strangulation of the two countries in the first place.  Especially after the series of security, political, economic and military alliances that the United States of America established against China and Russia in their regional region, led by the Aukus-Quad alliances against the interests of China and Russia mainly, coinciding with the escalation of the American provocations in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, with the policy of continuous American mobilization of its allies in Europe, and the imposition of several packages of sanctions against Moscow to paralyze the Russian economy after the Ukraine war.

  Therefore, the Chinese-Russian response, on the other hand, was to strengthen their network of military and diplomatic relations in light of their tense relations with the US side and its allies, through political and economic partnerships and joint and extensive military exercises, and Moscow and Beijing’s keenness to conduct regular naval maneuvers between the two sides as threatening messages directed mainly at Washington.

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President El-Sisi’s visit to India, followed by Armenia and Azerbaijan, came as an affirmation from the Egyptian side and its...