china has a two-fold strategic plan. It would like to box in the Indian navy, and, at the same time, match US naval power. In addition, China wants to patrol and control the Indian Ocean through which massive trade and shipments (including oil) pass onward to China. China has very little oil and is solely dependent on oil imports (90% of which pass through the Indian Ocean). For this reason, China is scouting for bases and has two significant ones at Gwadar in Pakistan and Hambantota in Lanka. The Chinese are planning to give a nuclear submarine to Pakistan to give the Pakistan navy muscle to face the Indian Navy.

Presently the Pakistan navy is not a match for the Indian navy which operates aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines. As part of the exercise to familiarize the Pakistan naval personnel with nuclear submarine operation, a Chinese nuclear submarine docked at the Pakistani port of Karachi. This was announced by the Indian defense ministry on Friday.

Nuclear sub for Pakistan

The Chinese nuclear-powered submarine if given to Pakistan will alter the balance of power in the Indian Ocean, which his heavily skewed in favor of the Indian and US navy. The Indian navy is sure that this docking of the nuclear submarine is part of a plan to give one to Pakistan, and some sailors and officers were taken on board the secret submarine in order to familiarize themselves with operations.

The Chinese have been flexing their muscles, but it is only now that the Chinese navy has blue water capability. Pakistan has also signed a deal for 8 conventional diesel-powered submarines, 4 of which will be built in Karachi. In the last major war with India in 1971 the Indian navy bottled up the Pakistan navy and the result was that East Pakistan was completely cut off.

The war ended with the creation of Bangladesh. Pakistan would not want to see something similar happen again.

Last word

The submarine likely to be sold to Pakistan is the "shang class," with 6 torpedo tubes, it displaces 7000 tons. But the full operational capability of the Pakistan navy to operate a nuclear submarine is still years away at best.