New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) While the rest of the world is struggling against the coronavirus pandemic as hundreds continue to die every day, the Xi Jinping regime has been vigorously carrying out its ambitious defence exercises in the Indo-Pacific region.
Additionally, Beijing has also announced that it is ramping up of military industries in Wuhan, the original epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last month, a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft flew at night over the sea, crossing the Taiwan Strait, provoking an F-16 fighter jet response from Taiwan. Though conducting provocative military and naval operations near Taiwan is not new for the PLA, it was for the first time that its aircraft crossed the strait at night.
On April 1, PLAAF undertook a 36-hour combat oriented exercise near Taiwan.
The same day two PLA Navy Air Force maritime strike bombers and one electronic warfare and surveillance aircraft flew through international airspace between two Japanese islands in the East China Sea. In a prompt response, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force flew its fighter jets.
Two days later, Chinese Navy warships attacked and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat.
The PLAAF also conducted a long-range military drill with bombers, an airborne early warning and control aircraft, an electronic warfare and surveillance plane and fighter jets passing through the Bashi Channel, a strategic waterway between the Philippines and the Taiwanese island of Orchid connecting the South China Sea with the western Pacific Ocean.
In March, the Chinese military carried out high-altitude ‘live fire’ exercises in Tibet.
In January this year, Beijing and Islamabad carried out their naval exercise ‘Sea Guardian 2020’ phase one, the images of which were caught on satellite and posted on Twitter by an open source intelligence tracking handle d-atis. The image “echoes the China-Pakistan solidarity and its evolving military interoperability west of India in the Arabian Sea,” he tweeted.
These Sea Guardian “anti-terror” exercises near Karachi were the largest between China and Pakistan. The Chinese military literature describes Karachi as a PLA Navy base and Gwadar as a PLA Navy Logistics Base.
India’s China expert Jayadev Ranade believes that all the activities amidst the coronavirus pandemic were “clearly intended to convey to Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and India, as well as the US, that China retains the capability and intent of becoming the dominant power of the Indo-Pacific.”
Incidentally, on Friday, a United States military reconnaissance aircraft and Chinese warplanes were monitored southwest were reported flying near Taiwan’s southern airspace. A US RC-135U Combat Sent was operating in the South China Sea, according to a flight chart posted on Twitter Friday morning by Aircraft Spots, a military air movement tracker.