ADZ violations — Chinese and Indian reactions

Most countries announce their Air Defence Zones (ADZs).The idea being to demarcate the air space as an early warning system. Constant surveillance over the zone pinpoints intruder aircraft on possibly suspicious missions. If well inside the ADZ, fighter aircraft are scrambled and the intruding aircraft intercepted and either politely escorted to outside the Zone or forced down for interrogation of its pilots and even examination of the aircraft and its on-board “spying” technologies.

On one such mission in April 2001, a US EP-3 elint aircraft off Hainan Island coast was engaged by two PLAAF J-8 IIs, with one of the latter trying perhaps to force the issue flew too close to the US plane had a glancing collision. The Chinese fighter went down with the pilot, the damaged US EP-3 was forced down on Hainan, the crew was held for several days, and the plane for many weeks during which time the Chinese scrutinized and perhaps even disassembled the communications eveasdropping technologies before the plane was returned AFTER the US had issued an aopology.

Fast forward some 12 years, PRC declares an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) Nov 23. Two days later, US B-52 bbrs make a deliberate run into the ADIZ, followed by Japanese and South Koreab airforce combat aircraft the next day. Whereupon Beijing now deploys combat aircraft for active patrolling and, instead of challenging PRC action, Obama Admin quietly advises American airlines to comply with the Chinese ADIZ requirements, to avoid untoward incidents. [See the NYT story at http://nyti.ms/1exqRJH ] So much for Washington sticking up for Asian security interests against China!

The more important thing is the Chinese reaction to the intruding surveillance aircraft in 2001 and its strong response to the wilful violation of its ADIZ by military aircraft of the US and its prime Asian allies. What a contrast to India and IAF’s passivity in the face of provocative and routine buzzing by elint and nuclear sensor-laden US aircraft close-buzzing the Kudankulum and the Kalpakkam complex. India and IAF have done nothing. But then Manmohan Singh regime has made it a habit to do nothing, lest an incident is precipitated. Why should anyone take India seriously?

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, China military, civil-military relations, Cyber & Space, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, Indian Air Force, South Asia, United States, US., Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ADZ violations — Chinese and Indian reactions

  1. Subhash Bhagwat says:

    You give the impression that the U.S. air force may have acted without political backing when the B-52 flew in the international air space. President Obama may have asked the airlines to comply, although newspaper articles don’t necessarily know even in the U.S. what the President ordered secretly. At the end of your blog you also imply that the IAF should have or could have acted like the USAF. The real problem lies with the Indian government, which has consistently neglected national interests on all levels, period!

  2. Surojit Chattopadhyay says:

    Sir,The ADIZ controversy between China and Japan for Senkaku island can be a part of bigger chinese plan.For china himalayan border with India is more important than island disputes with Japan.May be it’s mind diverting issue for international community so that China can stealthily carry out more lethal activities across with India.

  3. Reproduced here a response to my email acct by Surojit Chattopadhyay & my reply:

    This is in connection with your blog “ADZ- violations-chinese and indian reactions”. The ADIZ controversy between China and Japan for Senkaku island can be a part of bigger chinese plan.For china, himalayan border with India is more important than island disputes with Japan. May be it is a mind diverting-issue for international community so that China can stealthily carry out more lethal activities across the border with India.Might china is preparing for some thing big. Please give your view on this.
    —————-

    Reply: Beijing’s policy is all hard realpolitik and its territorial claims are expansive and non-negotiable. In the event, it may well set up the Senkaku dispute as a diversionary move as you suggest. But why would it want to do so?

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