The Indo-Pacific Digest 03

17-08-2022

Hello and welcome to the Indo-Pacific Digest, a weekly newsletter about geo-political and geo-economic developments in the Indo-Pacific region. The newsletter covers the region's emerging dynamics and makes our readers aware of what the stakeholders are doing in their respective domains.




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Uneasy peace in Indo-Pacific due to actions of China: US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi


THE PRINT 14 AUGUST: There is an "uneasy peace" in the Indo-Pacific due to China's recent aggressive actions, an influential US Congressman has said, underlining that India and the US should work together with countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia for maintaining stability in the strategically vital region.

In an interview with PTI, Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said one of the interesting topics of conversation during their travels was the rise of India and the importance of the country playing a larger role. Krishnamoorthi recently returned from a historic trip to the region, including Taiwan, as part of a US Congressional delegation led by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi headed a congressional delegation that visited Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and South Korea. To the chagrin of China, thousands of Taiwanese gathered in Taipei in the middle of the night to greet their American visitors.

"I think there is an uneasy peace (in the region). In all the countries we visited, whether it was Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan, there is a real concern about aggression from the People's Republic of China (PRC)," the Democratic Party leader said.

In retribution for Pelosi's high-profile travel to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province that needs to be reunited with the mainland, even by force, China's military launched a week-long military drill in the area.

Provocative military exercises by China in the vicinity of Taiwan sparked fears throughout the world that Beijing may be getting ready to conquer the independent island.

"I think that relationship with India is vitally important for preserving an international rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, where India can exert influence, especially through efforts like the Quad in delivering stability and security," Krishnamoorthi said.

He claimed that preserving peace in the Indo-Pacific area requires collaboration between India and the US as well as nations like Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other Indo-Pacific countries.

The world's second-largest economy has slowed down due to the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is in power, regrettably botching its response to COVID-19, according to the congressman.

As a result, President Xi Jinping, who is running for re-election at the forthcoming Chinese Communist Party Congress in November, is under intense domestic pressure, according to Krishnamoorthi.

Many of the neighbors are worried, in Krishnamoorthi's opinion, that the Chinese Communist Party may attempt to divert attention from its internal problems by supporting nationalist causes like Taiwan and a forcible reunification with Taiwan.

He declared, "The alliance between the United States, India, and other nations are not intended to gang up on the People's Republic of China."

Since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich's trip to Taipei in 1997, Pelosi, head of one of the three arms of the US government, has been the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan.




Amid Indo-Pacific tensions China sends fighter jets to Thailand for Military Drill

CBC 13 AUGUST: For a combined military drill with the Thai military on Sunday, the Chinese air force is sending fighter jets and bombers to Thailand.

According to a statement on the Chinese Defence Ministry's website, the training will cover air support, strikes on ground targets, and small- and large-scale troop deployment.

The United States and its allies are concerned by China's escalating military activities in the Asia-Pacific area, which are part of a growing geopolitical and economic rivalry that has heightened tensions between the two greatest economies in the world.

To enhance what he called America's "unparalleled network of allies and partnerships" in the area, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Thailand in June.

The Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in northern Thailand, close to the Laos border, will host the Falcon Strike exercise. Both Thai fighter jets and airborne early warning aircraft will participate.

The training takes place while the United States conducts combat maneuvers in Indonesia alongside Singapore, Australia, Japan, and Indonesia in the largest Super Garuda Shield exercise since it started in 2009.

As a follow-up to Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-governing island, which China claims as its territory, China sent warships, missiles, and aircraft into the waters and the skies near Taiwan in a menacing response.

President Joe Biden's top Indo-Pacific advisor, Kurt Campbell, announced on Friday that the United States would take decisive action to protect Taiwan, including deploying warships and aircraft into the 160-kilometer-wide waterway separating Taiwan from mainland China.

In a conference call with reporters, he declared, "We'll continue to fly, sail, and operate where international law permits, consistent with our long-standing commitment to freedom of navigation." And in the next weeks, standard air and maritime transits via the Taiwan Strait are included in that.




Two USA ships under Command of a destroyer squadron participate in Garuda Shield 2022


DVIDS 13 AUGUST: On August 3–4, two ships under the command of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 took part in the Natuna Maritime's sea portion the exercise Garuda Shield 2022.

Together with Indonesian Navy ships from Tentera Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL), the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) joined Indonesian Navy ships at sea to develop mutual capabilities to address common maritime security priorities and concerns. The Formidable-class stealth frigate RSS Supreme (73) and the Endurance-class landing platform dock ship RSS Resolution (208) of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) both took part in the maritime phase of the Garuda Shield 2022 competition.

Capt. Tom Ogden, the commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, noted that the United States and Indonesia have had bilateral relations for more than 70 years. "We have a steadfast shared interest in the Indo-Pacific region becoming more wealthy and secure. Exercises like Garuda Shield are always exciting for us because they regularly show how strong our regional connections and collaborations are.

The Bung Tomo-class corvettes KRI Bung Tomo (357), KRI John Lie (358), the Diponegoro-class corvette KRI Frans Kaisiepo (368), and the Makassar-class landing platform dock KRI Makassar were among the TNI-AL assets that took part in the sea phase (590).

The exercise included extensive at-sea training and divisional tactics aimed to practice maneuvering. At the same time, ships sail together in intricate formations and other activities to demonstrate the troops' capacity to work together. Other focal areas included visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations, search and rescue, and surface and littoral warfare.

The yearly Garuda Shield exercise, which involves both the Indonesian National Armed Forces and the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), aims to improve the two sides' mutual confidence, cooperation, and interoperability.

In order to improve interoperability with allies and partners and act as a quick response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, Green Bay, a member of Amphibious Squadron 11, is engaged in activities in the US 7th Fleet area of operations.

Charleston, a member of DESRON 7, is currently deployed on a rotational basis to the area of operations of the 7th Fleet of the United States to assist ally and partner navies in promoting maritime security and stability, two essential building blocks of an open and free Indo-Pacific.

As the forward-deployed destroyer squadron of the US Navy in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 acts as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships that are rotated to Singapore and serves as the sea combat commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and forges alliances through training drills and military-to-military interactions.





France's 3 Rafale jets make a stopover in India on their way to Indo-Pacific deployment


TREND NEWS AGENCY 13 AUGUST: As part of a massive military operation it conducted in the Pacific Ocean, a French Air and Space Force contingent—which included three Rafale jets—made a strategically significant stopover at the Indian Air Force's Sulur station in Tamil Nadu.

The assistance given by the Indian Air Force to the French force was a direct result of the reciprocal logistics support contract that France and India inked in 2018 to advance their military ties.

According to a French readout from Thursday, the cooperation with the Indian Air Force showed a high degree of interoperability and mutual confidence between the two sides.

It stated that on August 10 and 11, while on a long-distance deployment from metropolitan France to the Pacific Ocean, the French force was hosted for a technical layover at Air Force Station Sulur.

From August 10 to September 18, the French Air and Space Force will be engaged in a significant long-range mission in the Indo-Pacific known as Pegase 22.

The mission's first phase, described in the statement as "this mission," "aims to demonstrate France's capability for long-distance air power projection by deploying an Air Force contingent from metropolitan France to the French territory of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean in less than 72 hours (10th-12th August)."

According to the statement, "the Air Force contingent undertook a technical layover in India, at Air Force Station Sulur, to achieve this historic 16,600-km deployment."

There are three Rafale planes in the force, along with support aircraft.

The readout stated, "It touched down at Air Force Station Sulur on August 10 evening and flew away in the early hours of August 11 after refueling, en route to New Caledonia.

The use of Rafale jets by both the French and Indian Air Forces during the operation "demonstrated a high level of mutual confidence and interoperability," according to the statement.

The readout highlighted how the two air forces' cooperation showed how the reciprocal logistical support agreement was being "concretely" implemented.

In praising the IAF's contribution to the operation's success, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain remarked, "France is a resident power of the Indo-Pacific, and this ambitious long-distance air power projection underscores our commitment to the region and our partners."

He referred to India as France's "foremost strategic partner in Asia" and said it was only logical that France relies on it to complete this objective.

The French Air Force will participate in the "Pitch Black" air exercise in Australia from August 17 to September 10 as part of Mission Pegase 22's later phases.

This multinational exercise will also include participation from the Indian Air Force, Australia, Japan, the United States, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and South Korea.

Mission Pegase 22 serves as a potent example of France's ability to deploy quickly in the Indo-Pacific.

"The expedition is another evidence that the French and European commitment to the Indo-Pacific has not been affected by the security situation in Europe. In addition, it seeks to deepen ties with significant strategic partners," the French statement stated.



Indo-Pacific Allies and partners met during Senior Enlisted Leader International Summit


PACIFIC AIR FORCES 12 AUGUST: Senior Enlisted Leader International Summit (SELIS), the largest international Department of the Air Force engagement, took place in Arlington, Virginia, from August 1 to August 5, and participants came from eight Indo-Pacific Allies and partners countries.

The Indo-Pacific Allies and partners are more determined than ever to get their enlisted forces ready for a dynamically shifting security environment, which benefits the Pacific Air Forces.

According to Kerry Williams, a warrant officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, "this was a terrific introduction for new collaborations." It enables us to see how each of us functions, enabling us to see how each partner can contribute regardless of how far away we are from the conflict.

Military Expert See Lye Ng, Chief of the Republic of Singapore Air Force Command, said: "We all have our own viewpoints and difficulties that are good references to incorporate into one other's systems to better operate together."

The Indo-Pacific country delegates present highlighted both long-standing alliances with allies and more recent collaborations that widened each attendee's worldwide network of contacts.

Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Japan Air Self Defense Force Warrant Officer Kai Osamu said, "This conference provided a terrific opportunity to develop a pipeline amongst so many people." Building relationships and enhancing our partnerships are mutually beneficial.

Fiona Grasby, Warrant Officer of the Air Personnel for the Royal Australian Air Force, recognized the strategic value of focusing the summit on the upbringing and instruction of the enlisted force.

The SELIS presentations and the lessons learned through networking showed certain representatives of different countries how their armed forces may be improved.

Sgt. Maj. Namjildorj Battumur of the Air Force Command of the Mongolian Armed Forces stated, "This is my first time getting together with other international air forces." We definitely need to expand our partnership programmes because it is incredibly effective at forming collaborations.

While all attendees underlined the importance of forming partnerships, several were also eager to present what they, individually, had to offer.

The first female from her service to attend SELIS, Royal Thai Air Force Flight Sgt. 1st Class Khanittha Thongkham, said, "Next year I hope more come." "I want to improve our service and show that women can be leaders and that men and women can serve equally in all roles," the organiser of the event said.

A robust subject matter expert exchange programme is in place to improve interoperability throughout the theatre, and PACAF Airmen take part in up to 40 major exercises a year in addition to SELIS and other engagements.

Through routine interactions and networking at SELIS, the 62 countries and NATO Allied Air Command were better prepared for the global security situation.




Amid Indo-Pacific Tensions India-Malasiya to participate in Udarshakti Exercise


EURASIAN TIMES 14 AUGUST: According to a press release from the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) released on August 12, the RMAF will be flying its Su 30 MKM aircraft while the IAF will be using Su-30 MKI and C-17 aircraft for the air exercise.

In order to get to the RMAF facility in Kuantan, where the exercise is taking place, the Indian contingent flew directly there from one of its air bases. The IL-78 aircraft provided fuel mid-flight to the Su-30s as they made their nonstop flight from India to Malaysia.

The four-day exercise will entail various aerial combat simulations between the two air forces and give the IAF contingent members the chance to discuss mutual combat capabilities and exchange best practises with some of the greatest RMAF personnel.

According to the IAF, "Ex Udarashakti will strengthen the long-standing friendship between the two Air Forces and expand the channels of defence cooperation, thereby enhancing security in the region."

The exercise is the most recent example of India's expanding defence and security collaboration with South East Asian nations to counter China's hegemonic ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.

India has offered Malaysia it is Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk1A produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in addition to military drills (HAL).

For the contract to purchase 36 light fighter aircraft for the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the Tejas LCA is in competition with the Korean-made FA-50 and the Turkish-made Hurjet fighter jet (RMAF).

According to a recent report by EurAsian Times, India's package deal to set up a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in Malaysia for its fleet of Russian-built Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets is claimed to have made LCA-Tejas the Malaysian government's preferred choice.

Given that both India and Malaysia have a unified military doctrine that includes the deployment of NATO and Russian weaponry, it is said that HAL Tejas has an advantage due to its open architecture computer systems that can accommodate both Western and Russian munitions.

According to the most recent sources, a sizable team from Malaysia, headed by one of the nation's senior officials, is anticipated to travel to India in September to complete the transaction.

India and Malaysia will participate in 'Pitch Black,' a multilateral air combat exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force, in addition to the Udarashakti exercise (RAAF). It is planned for the drill to start on August 19 and end on September 8.

This year's Pitch Black will feature seventeen nations, including Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, and South Korea. 100 aircraft will participate in defensive counter air (DCA) and offensive counter air (OCA) combat tactics during the exercise.

Additionally, China is not calm while India expands into Southeast Asia. The Royal Thai Air Force is hosting a 10-day bilateral military exercise called "Falcon Strike 2022," in which China's PLAAF is taking part (RTAF).

Six J-10C/S fighter jets, a JH-7AI fighter-bomber, and a Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft are anticipated to be present on the Chinese side. Thailand will simultaneously deploy three Alphajet attack aircraft, a SAAB 340 AEW early warning and control aircraft, three Gripen aircraft, and five Gripen aircraft.



REFERENCES

https://theprint.in/world/uneasy-peace-in-indo-pacific-due-to-recent-chinese-actions-us-congressman-raja-krishnamoorthi/1082184/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/china-thailand-joint-military-exercise-1.6550543

https://www.dvidshub.net/news/427214/uss-charleston-and-uss-green-bay-participate-garuda-shield-2022

https://en.trend.az/world/other/3632343.html

https://www.pacaf.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3126918/indo-pacific-allies-and-partners-solidify-relations-ready-for-future-during-sen/

https://eurasiantimes.com/amid-tejas-talks-china-chaos-indian-malaysian-su-30-fighters/

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