Taipei [Taiwan], August 19 (ANI): Amid heightened tension between China and Taiwan in the backdrop of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit to the self-governed island, defence experts are of the view that a new fleet of modern submarines could help Taipei build strong deterrence against Beijing.
Analysts said in an RTI report published on Thursday that new subs would help Taiwan boost deterrence against China.
Michael Thim, a researcher focusing on Taiwan's defence at the Prague-based think tank Association for International Affairs, said that Taiwan's indigenous defence submarine program is necessary. Though submarines cannot prevent a Chinese invasion on their own, they constitute a strong deterrent force, Thim said, reported Taiwan News.
Subs patrolling in the shallow Taiwan Strait can use surrounding white noise as cover, he said, thus posing a threat to Chinese military transport ships at risk, he said.
Thim also said that in terms of submarine capabilities, Taiwan has been able to hire foreign experts over the years to help with its development plans. The US has so far been the primary partner in providing key submarine technologies, he said, reported Taiwan News.
More countries should be included in the future, such as Japan, which can build excellent submarines, the scholar said.
He added that the Hai Chien-class subs acquired by Taiwan in the 1980s have undergone substantial upgrades and can inflict damage on enemy ships, but have little deterrence effect.
China currently has about 60 conventional submarines that can be used to carry out maritime blockades, he pointed out.
Seth Cropsey, the former US deputy undersecretary of the Navy, suggested Japan hand over its retired submarines to Taiwan to strengthen the nation's maritime defence capabilities, reported Taiwan News.
Holmes Liao, a former National Defence University distinguished lecturer, pointed out that in 2021, the People's Liberation Army dispatched 961 fighter jets into Taiwan's air defence identification zone, 17 per cent of which were variants of the Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft.
Given this unusually high statistic, submarines from the US Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, or other foreign naval forces may be in Taiwan's waters, but Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence rarely discloses these activities, Liao said.
The Taiwan Navy currently only has four conventional submarines, of which two are Hai Shih-class subs from World War II, and the other two are the above-mentioned Chien Lung-class ships built by the Netherlands in the early 1980s, reported Taiwan News.
Taiwan's first domestically produced submarine is expected to be launched next September, a person familiar with the matter said on July 12.
Last week, a new delegation of US lawmakers visited Taiwan, less than two weeks after Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island angered China and set off large-scale military drills in the Taiwan Strait.
In response to this visit, China's military conducted combat alert patrols and military drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan. On Tuesday, China staged military exercises in five areas of the South China Sea off the coast of the southeastern Guangdong province. Several zones of the Yellow Sea are also involved in the ongoing drills on August 17-19. (ANI)