Five years ago, India had two aircraft carriers and China had none. Now, perhaps as early as this month, the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) will match India in carrier numbers. With INS Viraat decommissioned last month, the Indian Navy has just a single carrier, the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya. The PLA(N) too operates a single carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Russia and refurbished in Dalian, China.
However, at an alarming speed, another Chinese carrier is coming on stream. Naval analysts believe that, on April 23 — the PLA(N)’s 68th anniversary — its second carrier will be officially launched.