Five years ago, India had two aircraft carriers and China had none. Now, perhaps as early as this month, the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), or PLA(N), will match India in carrier numbers. This is the kind of reporting done by Indian Media and to top it the article is written by someone who commanded a tank regiment.
With INS Viraat decommissioned last month, the Indian Navy has just a single carrier, the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya. The PLA (N) too has a largely berthed single carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Russia and refurbished in Dalian, China.
However, at an alarming speed ””for the so called journalist, even when launching itself is yet to take place….. another Chinese carrier is coming on stream. Naval analysts believe that, on April 23 —the PLA (N)’s 68th anniversary its second carrier will be officially launched. China’s English language media, including People’s Daily, quoted China defence ministry spokesperson Wu Qian as stating on Thursday that a date for the launch would be soon announced, they will not keep the public waiting for too long.
The new carrier is being named Shandong. While the Liaoning is termed a Type 001 carrier, the Shandong will be categorised Type 001A.The claim of the Reporter that India was thus beaten in the race, even when IN is not in any race with any one…. was over when it was announced by China’s defence ministry, that after the launch it would still have to undergo one-two years of outfitting with weapons, radars, instruments, etc. and another year of sea trials before joining the PLA (N)’s operational fleet in 2020. Meanwhile, India’s second carrier, INS Vikrant, already launched two years back and undergoing final fabrications at Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) and to be commissioned by end of 2018, is being deliberately reported to have fallen eight years behind schedule, based on some vague reports of Accountants of CAG who themselves can hardly differentiate between the Carrier and the aircraft.
As per the shocked Reporter it was to be originally delivered in 2015, and is now expected by him to be fully operational only in 2023, years after China’s second carrier joins the PLA (N) fleet. Very true because he will only consider Vikrant Operational when a naval version of Tejas starts flying from its deck. MIG 29s flying from the decks of Vikrant will only be for demonstration, as per this reporter. This clever by half Reporter then worryingly adds that the Indian Navy plans to commission a partly operational Vikrant by end-2018, without its “aviation complex” (flight operations control) or LR-SAM anti-ship missiles. That means for some time as per him maybe for years, the Vikrant would lack both strike and defensive capability. Further, he happily and gleefully adds that a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report revealed.