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Saturday, 26 August 2017

India’s Maritime Aspirations: Zone Defence and a Bubble

Written by Periklis Stampoulis *

India’s maritime “destiny” was early cited by K.M. Panikkar, an Indian diplomat and influential scholar: “The vital feature which differentiates the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic or the Pacific is the sub-continent of India, which juts out far into the sea for a thousand miles. It is the geographical position of India that changes the character of the Indian Ocean...”[1].

Talwar class frigates of the Indian Navy in formation
By fulfilling its “destiny”, India bumps into Chinese regional interests. Attempting to expand its own interests, commercial activities and energy goods imports, the “String of Pearls” project, namely the construction of a web of naval infrastructure (ports and bases) throughout the IOR, has been issued. These activities along with the arms sales to IOR states cause fears of Chinese encirclement [2]. Moreover, China has already built and fully operates a military base in Djibouti and according to a U.S. Pentagon report “most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests [3]”. Already, a naval base/logistics infrastructure has been built in Gwadar, Pakistan, and certain ports in the IOR, such as Hambantota in Sri Lanka [4] and Chittagong along with Sonadia [5] in Bangladesh provide amenities to Chinese Navy ships. Therefore, the best way of countering Chinese descent to the IOR is a strong Indian Navy.

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Wonsan and Nampo minelayer classes of the Republic of Korea Navy

Written by D-Mitch

RoKS Nampo, one of the most advanced minelayers in the world today
Today, some of the most advanced and most capable modern minelayer classes belong to the Republic of Korea Navy (South Korean Navy). This is the Wonsan class and its evolution, the Nampo class, which will be analyzed thoroughly in this article. The first ship in the Nampo class, RoKS Nampo with the pennant number 570, was launched just recently by the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), on 27th of May of 2017. It is not known yet how many ships in the class will follow exactly but at least three more ships are expected. The designation name of the class is Mine Layer Ship (MLS)-II following the previous sole ship and predecessor of the type, MLS-I type, the Wonsan (560), which was delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy in 1998. Initially, South Korea was planning to build three MLS-I ships but due to budget constraints of that time only one vessel was completed. Big, modern, heavily armed, multi-purpose ships, these are definitely the most well equipped minelayers in the world today proving that the minelayer designs have still future.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

BOOK REVIEW #2: The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn - The Untold Story of the American Revolution

Welcome to my second book review, The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn - The Untold Story of the American Revolution, by Robert P. Watson.

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn
The Jersey Prison Ship as moored at
the Wallabout near Long Island, in 1782
This is the shocking and tragic yet largely-unknown story of the notorious HMS Jersey, an old rotting British warship that was used as a floating prison during the American Revolution. A carefully-researched story by Robert P. Watson focusing on the struggles of American prisoners imprisoned aboard that ship, that everyone should read it! Moored off the coast of Brooklyn, in the shallows of Wallabout Bay, until the end of the war, HMS Jersey was a living hell for thousands of Americans. A dreaded prison for American soldiers and sailors who were captured in the battle, crews of captured American privateers, which constituted the main population aboard the ships, and civilians suspected of supporting the colonial cause or refusing to swear an oath to the Crown. These unfortunate souls were incarcerated in the diseased and deadly holds of this large floating coffin whose dark and filthy appearance fitly represented death and despair.

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