The People’s Republic of China aspires to build a “modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious” by 2049. Widely considered as a euphemism for a “Global Power”, the Chinese Dream (中国梦) envisages China claiming its rightful role in the global stage after more than a ‘Century of Humiliation’. Commensurate with the national goal, the People’s Liberation Army aspires to be a ‘world class’ military by 2049. Of particular importance is the PLA Navy (PLAN) which has grown from a 'brown water' Navy to the 'largest' Navy in the world in just three decades, defying conventional modelling and predictions. The growth of the PLAN is prominent in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), where it has a near-permanent presence with a logistics base at Djibouti, counter-piracy patrols, and a growing footprint that necessitates critical examination. This webinar proposes to delve into current and future developments in the PLAN that are of concern to India. The broad themes of discussion are current capabilities of the PLAN in the IOR, likely PLAN force projection and posture by 2035, and perspective planning for countering PLAN operations in the IOR.
About the Panelists
Admiral Sunil Lanba (Retd) PVSM, AVSM is the Chairman of the National Maritime Foundation, and alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London. In an illustrious naval career spanning four decades, the Admiral specialised in Navigation and Aircraft Direction and served as the Navigation, Direction and Operations Officer aboard several ships in the Eastern and Western Fleets of the Indian Navy. Alongside several sea command tenures, Admiral Lanba served ashore as Chief of Staff of the Eastern Naval Command, Commandant of the National Defence College, and Vice-Chief of Naval Staff. He assumed command of the Indian Navy as the 23rd Chief of Naval Staff on 31st May 2016, and demitted office on the 31st May 2019. He was also Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and has served as Chairman of NMF since June 2019.
Lt Gen. SL Narasimhan (Retd) PVSM, AVSM*, VSM is a Maths graduate, has a Masters Degree in Defence Studies and a doctorate in India-China relations. Narasimhan is an infantry officer from Madras Regiment. He is fluent in Chinese and has served a tenure as Defence Attache in Beijing. He has been an avid China watcher for 20 years. He is presently Member of the National Security Advisory Board, India and Director General, Centre for Contemporary China Studies. He is also a Distinguished Fellow with the Centre for Air Power Studies, India.
Darshana Baruah is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo, where she is working on a book about the significance of strategic islands in the Indian Ocean region. She is also a Nonresident Scholar with the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her primary research focuses on maritime security in Asia and the role of the Indian Navy in a new security architecture. Her work also examines the strategic implications of China’s infrastructure and connectivity projects as well as trilateral partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. Previously, Baruah was the Associate Director and a Senior Research Analyst at Carnegie India where she led the center’s initiative on maritime security. Her research projects there included work on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as trilateral partnerships and strategic connectivity projects in the Indo-Pacific.
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