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In an interesting eyeball grabbing news, Japan decided to transmogrify it’s state secret laws to share intelligence with UK, India and Australia. But this is only a tiny part of the real developments behind the curtain. An undersea wall to catch Chinese submarines is finally ready and Japan’s decision to share intelligence is the icing on the cake. The much speculated US-Japan “fish-hook” SOSUS (sound surveillance sensors chain) has now touched Andaman-Nicobar Islands, creating a counter- wall against Chinese submarines loitering in the Andaman sea and deep south China sea. India has been fortifying it’s land borders and littoral zones against Chinese intrusions.
China with its behemoth submarine fleet which ostensibly consists of 70 submarines, has been very belligerent in South China Sea and Indian Ocean. It is building an undersea great-wall which includes sound surveillance system nets (SOSUS) and elements of anti-submarine warfare that extends from Japan to Taiwan to Philippines to Indonesia. China has also built underground tunnels at some of its naval bases to protect its maritime assets like submarines, against air attacks, which includes nuclear threat.
What is Fish hook SOSUS ?
SOSUS is a sonar system which came into existence when US Navy was looking for a solution to counter submarine warfare. In 1951, US experimented it’s first array of hydrophones to target a submarine, it was originally laid to deter Soviet submarines. But now a more sophisticated SOSUS, also called fish-hook (due to it’s shape and purpose) has replaced the older one, to track the PLAN (people’s liberation Army Navy, China) ships and submarines. This comprises arrays of hydrophones and magnetic anomaly detectors on the seabed, which work in coordination with maritime reconnaissance aircrafts to enable a multi-tier ASW (anti-submarine warfare) system.
It is managed by JMSDF’s (Japanese maritime self defence forces) oceanographic research center and US navy personnel.
In the pic: SOSUS network, pic credit: book titled—The tools of Owatatsumi, by Desmond Ball and Richard Tanter
In the pic: seaweb part of SOSUS, pic credit: sina.com.cn
Why India decided to join fish-hook SOSUS?
In 2015, after the 10-member ASEAN defence minister’s meeting concluded, India decided to play a greater role in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and South China Sea. Ex-defence minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, had a pivotal role to play in enhancing Indian Navy’s capabilities. This was followed by laying of an undersea optical fibre cable from mainland to Andaman Nicobar islands, and a network of seabed-based surveillance sensors from Indira point to Sumatra in Indonesia.
Japanese multinational provider of information technology services and products NEC, was roped in to lay optical submarine cable system between Chennai and Port blair. The project commenced in December 2019 and was supposed to have ended by March 2020. It is apparently a 2300 Km long cable system which can carry 100Gb/s optical waves.
To flex it’s maritime pecs, India began to deploy long range patrol aircrafts like Poseidon-8I Neptune at it’s forward military base in Andaman Nicobar islands. Indian Navy inducted eight P-8I aircrafts in 2009, after sealing a $2.1billion defence deal with Boeing, most likely 4 more of these aircrafts will join Indian Navy by January 2022.
Amidst present tiff between India and China, japan has backed the former on LAC (line of actual control) issue. India has deepened it’s cooperation with Japan to counter Chinese aggressiveness, along it’s land and water borders. Last week both the countries concluded a joint naval exercise in Indian Ocean. This exercise was an effort to create a joint front and enhance interoperability of the Indian and Japanese Navies. With Japan consenting to share intelligence with India, the latter will benefit with voluminous information from pacific region and South China Sea, which was India’s blind spot earlier.
This will ensure China’s maritime tentacles spread across oceans are pruned.
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