China launches new aircraft carrier amid tensions

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With the launch of the new carrier, China will become the seventh country with the capability to build its own aircraft carriers.

While the Chinese media talked about its navy's massive expansion with new "logistics" in Gwadar in Pakistan and Djibouti in the Indian Ocean, it also projected India in a negative light by suggesting that the nation requires more economic development before it focuses on developing its carrier fleet, PTI reported.

"The launch of the new aircraft carrier is primarily a symbolic event because it will take about two years for the vessel to be equipped and to make its first real tests overboard", according to Juliette Genevaz, China researcher at the France-based Military School Strategic Research Institute. The carrier, measuring 315 meters in length and 75 meters in width, displaces 70,000 tons of water.

Little is known about China's aircraft carrier program, which is a state secret.

"The country unveiled its first domestically built aircraft carrier in 2015, but the Wall Street Journal said in 2016 that top USA naval engineers discovered it wouldn't be operational for up to a decade".

China reportedly began development work on the aircraft carrier in November 2013 and took almost five years to complete it.

Yesterday China celebrated the 68 anniversary of its navy establishment.

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When compared to the United States Navy, China's maritime and naval equipment is severely lacking.

As a outcome, China's military strategy for the navy has changed and it must increase its presence overseas to meet the new requirements, military expert Song Zhongping said.

The Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 and Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-18 are to be the PLAN's mainstay carrier-borne aircraft.

It will be China's second aircraft carrier following Liaoning, which began service in September 2012 after China purchased a hull from Ukraine and carried out extensive renovations.

The article said that China would have completed its work years ago if it had wanted to engage in "arms race" to have more influence in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

The development is also considered an important moment for India, which - with just a single carrier in the INS Vikramaditya - will now face a numerical disadvantage in terms of carriers.

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