2008: Chinese and Indian naval
strategies are different. While both are building new surface warships (nine
for India in the last ten years, and 17 for China), the Chinese are ahead when
it comes to nuclear subs (with two new SSNs and two new SSBNs in the last
decade, plus even more non-nuclear boats). India, however, is putting more
emphasis on aircraft carriers, with one in service, and three new ones on the
way. China is planning at least one carrier, but it will have to spend years
developing crews that can handle carrier ops effectively. India has long since
mastered those skills.
building more subs, but not as many as China. While the Chinese try to develop
their own submarine technology, India is much more willing to obtain superior
foreign technology (mostly from the West, but some Russian stuff as well.)
differences in fleet composition worry the Indians. By putting more emphasis on
subs, China is building a force that has a better chance of invading the Indian
Ocean and threatening Indian control of those waters. Surface ships would be
too vulnerable to land based aircraft and missiles, and do not pose the same
kind of threat as subs.
subs could not deliver the same kind of threat to Chinese coastal waters. But
the new Scorpene boats might, because they can stay under water for weeks at a
time, might (at least in a limited way, as only six of these boats are on
order). Such a submarine offensive is a highly theoretical threat, who do not
have the same imperial ambitions they believe the Chinese possess.