People’s Liberation Army Navy - An Overview of Maritime Strategic Thought, Naval Capabilities, Implications of Military Reforms & Naval Operations and Exercises
Shashank Sharma, Senior Fellow, VIF

This paper aims to provide an overview of the Chinese maritime strategic thought and naval capabilities that could have a bearing on India’s strategic and security environment, particularly in the Indian Ocean. It provides a broad picture of major reforms in PLA during the Xi Jinping era that commenced in 2014 and the drivers and objectives behind these reforms. An attempt has been made to understand how the objectives of the reforms are being addressed, what the likely obstacles are, and key changes anticipated in the future for consolidating these reforms and specifically the implications for the PLA Navy. The document also tracks the evolution and trends vis-à-vis PLA Navy operations, training and bilateral/ multilateral exercises over the last decade to understand what it augurs for the India’s strategic environment. Accordingly, the paper has been divided thematically into four parts. The first part covers the drivers, external influences and environment that have shaped China’s maritime strategic thought and how they perceive India’s maritime strategy, thought and capabilities. The second part broadly covers PLA Navy capabilities that can bear upon in the far sear region. The third part looks at the military reforms in the PLA in Xi Jinping era and how they would play out for PLA Navy functioning and its far seas operations. The fourth and last part details the evolution of PLA Navy operations, training and bilateral/ multilateral exercises in the past decade.

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