Taiwan stepping up military preparedness as China increases activity

Representational Image (Twitter)

New Delhi (NVI): Chinese military has increased its activity around Taiwan recently, prompting a wary Taiwan to step up its military preparedness, including through deployment of assets to prevent Chinese troops from entering by sea.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND), Chinese military aircraft have flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone eight times this month only.

As part of the preparedness, the Taiwan Navy has held an exercise to hone its skills in naval mine warfare. Its Minesweeper Fleet conducted drills on deploying, detecting and sweeping for sea mines in strategic waters around Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA), which quoted the Navy.

At least one of the mines used in the drills was indigenously-developed WSM-II, it said.

The exercise, aimed at improving the Navy’s capabilities in deterring hostile naval vessels from invading Taiwan, came at a time when the Chinese military is becoming more active around Taiwan, the CNA report said.

Quoting an unnamed high-ranking military officer, CNA reported that the MND has made the acquisition of new-generation smart mines and fast minelayers a priority.

This is to increase the Navy’s ability to block Chinese troops from landing in Taiwan by sea during war, said the officer, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

A smart mine is capable of distinguishing and selecting its target through sophisticated sensors, posing a threat to enemies but keeping Taiwan’s troops safe, he said.

On the other hand, a fast minelayer can shorten the time needed to deploy mines, effectively disrupting enemies’ pace of attack and operation plans, he said.

The officer said Taiwan needs to develop more smart mines that fit the country’s needs, especially in shallow water areas, as the existing mines are mostly designed against deepwater vessels but not shallow water ones, such as amphibious vehicles and hovercraft.

He also suggested that Taiwan should build more fast minelayers or equip all Navy ships under construction with build-in mine tracking to enable them to lay mines in times of emergency, as the present practice of commissioning fishing boats to do the job is unreliable.