Friday, July 15, 2011

U.S Alarmed At China's Growing Satellite Power

Phenomenal growth of China's satellite power is expected to alter "power dynamics in Asia" submerging the US dominance in the region. Chinese reconnaissance satellites are now capable of tracking down their targets for over six hours a day jumping from only three hours barely 18 months ago.

Starting from a scratch ten years ago, People's Liberation Army (PLA) has equalled the US's ability to observe targets from the space. China's growing military muscle has unnerved some of the trusted allies in the region. China has made giant strides in developing military hard wares. Among China's prized possessions are anti-ship ballistic missiles, stealth fighter which it jointly manufactured with Pakistan and will shortly launch its first aircraft carrier. The United States has turned a deaf ear to China's urging of staying away from the region which is rich in mineral resources including oil.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there is no question of US leaving the region. 'Our enduring presence in this region has been important to our allies for decades and continues to be so', Admiral Mullen was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.

The military leaders of the two countries in the meanwhile pledged last Monday to cast aside decades of hostilities and pursue shared vision of cooperation. Admiral Mullen was in China and held talks with his counterpart Gen.Chen Binge, chief of PLA. Two military leaders are under order to improve military to military ties. Exhortations came during President Hu Jintao's summit talks President Obama in January this year.

Both the generals spoke in effusive terms about each other and agreed to hold counter piracy manoeuvres in the Gulf of Aden and plan exercises in humanitarian relief in 2012. Gen Binge dismissed American concerns that the Chinese were deploying new and modern weapons to counter America, the New York Times reported.

Gen.Binge conceded that China's military technology is decades behind Pentagon and its military spending is far behind the United States. China's army is a defensive force, he said. Gen. Binge suggested that the US should severely cut its defence spending. According to one estimate, the US spends $21000 per minute on defence spending.

A triangular tussle is going on between the US, China and Pakistan. The US has threatened to suspend its $800 million military aid to Pakistan which the analysts claim is an "empty gesture." Pakistan has strong military ties with China. The US-Pak tie has chilled since US found and killed Osama bin-Laden in May this year in Pakistan's garrison city of Abottabad. The US frustration with Pakistan is understandable. In today's inflamed climate anything that looks like a concession to US is politically all but impossible, the Financial Times in an editorial said. The stakes are too high for the US to cause a serious rift. The US needs Pakistan's help to stabilise situation in Afghanistan.

The Financial Times has urged Washington to be mindful of Pakistan's concern about Indian activities in Kabul. The Paper called for resolution of the Kashmir problem between India and Pakistan.