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Opinion

China Promoting Arms Race in Asia and the World?

T. S. Chandrashekar

T. S. ChandrashekarOct 22, 2021, 06:05 PM IST

China Promoting Arms Race in Asia and the World?

Curtailing freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, debt-trap diplomacy, forced drought on fragile nations, dictating peace treaty to small, medium and Island Countries is a concern for all the players in the region.

China is dangerously doing great damage to its bilateral, regional and global neighbours by arming itself. From China’s hypersonic missile in August that orbited the globe before heading toward its target, indirect attack strikes at Taiwan by flying fighter jets and violating maritime boundaries, with Japan scaring it with Nuclear War for supporting Taiwan to moving in international boundaries and Sea of Japan, trying to change land boundaries unilaterally with India from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh creating unrest at the borders, to stopping THAAD defence shield in South Korea and more. Is China directly threatening the neighbouring countries to arm though they are all affected and are recovering from China or Wuhan Virus?

It is felt that China is concerned that the United States could seek the capability to attack China’s nuclear forces preemptively and then use missile defences to intercept whatever surviving missiles are launched in retaliation. So China is building hundreds of new ICBM with multiple warheads and developing missile defence countermeasures, such as decoys. China has also been building silos for ICBMs, which experts say would be cheaper and more accurate.

It is worrisome that it is also developing non-ballistic nuclear delivery systems that could evade U.S. sensors or fly beneath the reach of U.S. interceptors. These weapons include an intercontinental hypersonic glider as well as “novel nuclear-powered capabilities” America has expressed concern that China could at least double its nuclear arsenal by the next decade and that Beijing’s ultimate objective is to achieve parity with the U.S.’s much larger triad of nuclear forces. U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in a September 20 speech China was developing the capability to launch “global strikes from space.” There is a potential for weapons to be launched into space, then go through this old concept from the Cold War called the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, a system that goes into orbit and then de-orbits to a target. This act of China is taken as a direct attack on the region from Japan to Korea to India and enraged Taiwan. They can also be a victim of China’s new arsenals and its nuclear buildup from land, air-water, and space.

Though China claims that security concerns over China are a notion that the U.S. completely hypes, China has no intention to threaten any country. China has always adhered to the principle of being a friendly neighbour and pursued peaceful development. The reality is Chinese acts of violating international rules of order to curtail freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is a concern for all the actors in the region. Its debt-trap diplomacy, forced drought on fragile nations, dictating peace treaty to small, medium and Island Countries, its hold on weak state institutions, fragile civil societies, or countries where “elite capture” and allied with them are taken seriously.

Other countries in the region are buying or developing their new missiles, driven by security concerns over China. Missiles provide strategic benefits such as deterring enemies and boosting leverage with allies and lucrative exports. COVID and China have shown that depending on extended defence global supply chains in times of crisis for key items and in a war that includes advanced missiles is a mistake, so it is sensible strategic thinking to have production capacity.

Japan has spent millions on long-range air-launched weapons and is developing a new version of a truck-mounted anti-ship missile, the Type 12, with an expected range of 1,000 kilometres. Last Month for the first time in nearly 30 years, Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GDSF) started nationwide exercises that involved all units part of an attempt to boost deterrence and strengthen its capabilities amid China’s ramped-up regional assertiveness. This time, around 100,000 personnel, 20,000 vehicles and 120 aircraft will join the drills, which will also involve Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces and a U.S. Army landing ship. Private trucks, ferries and railways also are used in the exercise. The aim was to strengthen the ability to defend remote islands Nansei Islands, including the Japan-administered, Beijing-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

South Korea fields the most robust domestic ballistic missile programme, which boosted a recent agreement with Washington to drop bilateral limits on its capabilities. Its Hyunmoo-4 has an 800-kilometre range, giving it a reach well inside China. South Korea recently test-fired its first submarine-launched ballistic missile plans to build major new weapons include aircraft carriers and has bought American-made F-35 stealth fighters.

Taiwan has not publicly announced a ballistic missile programme, but the U.S. State Department approved its request to buy dozens of American short-range ballistic missiles in December. Officials say Taipei is mass-producing weapons and developing cruise missiles such as the Yun Feng, which could strike as far as Beijing.

India has been the victim of Chinese expansion and military arrogance. From Arunachal Pradesh to Ladakh, China is trying to change the land air-water boundary unilaterally. Though 13 Rounds of meetings took place, China has hoarded its troops on the borders with weapons, artificial villages surveillance and machines. It is not accepting the accepted boundaries and unilaterally trying to change. Its further acts of arms buildup make India spend more on India’s National Security. India’s strength lies not only in peace talks but also in its high calibre military strength.

As it can tackle enemies on all fronts, internal and external. China should understand and withdraw its troops to the bases and concentrate on its economy then expansion.

Finally, one can say that the most worrisome are missiles that can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads. The line between the defensive and offensive nature of the weapons is getting thinner and thinner. This missile proliferation will fuel suspicions, trigger arms races, increase tensions, and ultimately cause crises and wars. China, North Korea and the United States all field such weapons. It is difficult, if not impossible, to determine if a ballistic missile is armed with a conventional or nuclear warhead until it reaches the targets. As the number of such weapons increases, there is an increased risk of inadvertent escalation to a nuclear strike.

The development of new missile technologies has implications for stability as the region’s nuclear weapons states could see them as threats to the credibility and survivability of their second-strike systems. This could trigger a diversification of missile systems across different platforms or an increase in the number of warheads and launchers to complicate an adversary’s targeting options. One has to understand that the Arms buildup by Japan or by India or Korea can also have an adverse effect on the region, especially China? Democratic India, with strong leadership, nationalism, heritage, robust economy, vaccinated, can challenge authoritarian military system with a strong defence, which can be more worried about China expansionism and domination. For now, China should stop building Arms and concentrate on the economy? That will be better for the factory of the world?

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