mmasand wrote:Any truth to the rumour floating around that China is looking to 'sell' its first aircraft carrier to TSP?
If true, it will be a chess move from the Chinese Navy. From their bases in the South China Sea, the PLAN have to circumvent significant landmass in South East Asia to reach the Indian Ocean. And the PLAN knows that in a conflict, that one of their CBGs sailing through the Malacca Straits would get easily detected. The other (asinine) option for the PLAN is to go south of Australia and then enter the Indian Ocean. Now station (in peacetime) the Liaoning at Gwadar and the equation changes for the PLAN. They will have access to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. In a conflict, the vessel will not have the same disadvantages.
If the news is true, then the Liaoning will be operated by a token Pakistan Navy crew, but for all sense-and-purposes...will fall under the responsibility of the PLAN. The PLAN will also bear all the OPEX of the vessel (and air component) as well. India's decision to reportedly (not confirmed though) donate a Kilo Class boat to Burma is likely to patrol the mouth of the Malacca Straits. Will be operated by a token crew of the Myanmar Navy, but will have significant Indian naval presence on board. Why make the journey from a naval base at Vizag, when you can sail from Rangoon instead? And from Rangoon, the entrance to the Malacca Straits is straight down.
The more assets the PLAN can station around the Indian Ocean (and beyond) the greater flexibility they will have in a future conflict.
Drag & Drop the map below to see an enlarged view of the map.