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C3S Issue Brief VI: China’s Aircraft Carrier Building Program and Its Impacts: An Overview by Cmde S

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

C3S Issue Brief: 06/2021

C3S launches its Issue Brief initiative. An issue brief is a summary of the knowledge surrounding an issue or a problem. It summarises the issue giving clear, concise, and complete information describing all facets of a particular issue including a detailed illustration in the form of images, data, and facts. It also includes recommendations for action and predictions on the future course of an issue.

Issue Briefs are available for download as PDFs.


The race for dominating the Seas has become intense in the recent decade. Many countries are modernising their Navies, to protect their national interests. While most of the nations are modernising their maritime prowess to protect their legitimate interests, China stands out as an exception. Its hegemonic behaviour, quest to claim EEZs of other countries as its own, militarise the islands, deny access to the other countries to their own EEZs or free lanes of communication, and dominate the seas has led to a worrisome situation in the South China Sea and Indo-Pacific. This situation affects not only the interest of the countries in the region but also of countries like Australia, Japan, USA, and India. China’s increasing forays in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is a matter of concern too, for many countries, especially India. To support its hegemonic behaviour, the vision of becoming a global power and build a counter to the US Navy, China has embarked upon modernisation of the PLA Navy, a substantial part of which relates to an ambitious ‘Aircraft Carrier’ build program. This program is likely to seriously impact security scenarios in the region. To have an overview of the serious impact of China’s carrier build program, on various security aspects, this issue brief will examine the role of aircraft carriers in power projection, China’s thought process in formulating its aircraft carriers build program, capabilities of its carriers, and principles of deployment, implications for USA and India and some measures to mitigate the risks.

Key Words: India, China, USA, South China Sea, IOR, Indo-Pacific, SLOCs, EEZ

Read the full PDF at this link: 

Download PDF • 491KB

About the Author

(Commodore SL Deshmukh, NM (Retd), has served the Indian Navy for 32 years and Member, C3S. An alumnus of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College Wellington, he has served on-board aircraft carriers and is specialized in fighter aircraft and ASW helicopters. He held many operational and administrative appointments including Principal Director at Naval HQ, Commodore Superintendent at Naval Aircraft Yard, Director, Naval Institute of Aeronautical Technology, and Project Director of a major Naval Aviation Project. Post-retirement he was with Tata Group for 5 years and is currently working with SUN Group‘s Aerospace & Defence vertical as Senior Vice President. The views expressed are personal and does not necessarily reflect the views of C3S)

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