CHINA is preparing to deliver a fleet of new submarines to its ally Pakistan as the Asian superpower continues to exert its dominance in the Indian Ocean. China is rapidly expanding its military says expert
Chinese shipbuilders have begun work on eight subs, which will soon be handed over to its ally in South Asia.
The new vessels will nearly double the number of submarines currently fielded by the Pakistani navy - increasing its underwater force from 10 subs to 18 - and mean it will have more than its rival India, which currently operates 16.
The move, codenamed Project Hangor, is part of Beijing’s continued campaign to check India'sinfluence in the region, Indian news network Zee News reports.
News of the project comes as the rivalry between China and India continues to intensify as the world’s two most populous nations grapple for strategic control of the Indian Ocean and its highly lucrative shipping routes.
A political crisis has already erupted between the two countries over the future of the Maldives, which has sided with China by signing up to Beijing’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road infrastructure scheme.
Chinese warships have previously been deployed to the region, with 11 vessels sailing to the East Indian Ocean earlier this year in a massive show of force.
Meanwhile, India is preparing to build a huge military base off the coast of Africa to protect its interests and deter future incursions by the Chinese.
The new facility in Seychelles, north of Madagascar, will include an airbase as well as naval installations.
The new vessels will increase the size of Pakistan's submarine fleet from 10 to 18
Relations between China and India are already strained over the future of the Maldives
In addition to securing the support of the Maldives for its Belt and Road initiative, the government of Pakistan is also on board.
With Beijing’s support, Pakistan is plowing ahead with the $62billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).
The massive infrastructure scheme threatens to disrupt the status quo in South Asia as Pakistan’s energy grid and transportation networks are modernised and the investment provides a massive boost to its economy.
Once finished, CPEC will connect China’s northwestern Xinjiang province with the deep-sea port of Gwadar in Pakistan, giving China access to the Arabian Sea.
India could be forced to build more subs to keep up with Pakistan's newly-bolstered fleet n to cooperation on infrastructure, China and Pakistan have also launched a pair of high-tech satellites capable of surveying for resources and monitoring natural disasters.
Fitted with wide-angle cameras, the PRSS-1 will also be used to provide data to the Chinese government on the vehicles making use of CPEC.
The optical remote sensing satellites were purchased by Pakistan and launched into orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.