Friday, June 11, 2010

Britan Ponders Selling Aircraft Carrier to India

One of the Royal Navy's new £2bn aircraft carriers could be sold off under government cost-cutting plans, the Guardian has learned.

It is understood that India has recently lodged a firm expression of interest to buy one of the two state-of-the-art 65,000 tonne carriers, which are still being built by BAE Systems in the UK.

Any sale of the long-delayed carriers would be highly controversial and would leave the Royal Navy with just one carrier. It could also force Britain to borrow from the French navy, which itself only has one carrier and is reluctant to build any more.(1)

I'm of two minds with this. One, it takes decades to develop aircraft carrier capabilities, not just the technology to build them, but also the expertise to 'set sail'. This would represent a significant transfer of power from the former Empire to one of their former subjects.

On the other hand, India's ruling class is well within the Western fold, and is seen by Britain and the United States as a bulwark against Chinese expansion into the Indian Ocean. The national bourgeoisie of India and China are not too fond of each other. China does not yet have an aircraft carrier, and may never have one. Selling India a top-of-the-line carrier would thoroughly contain China, geo-politically speaking.

1'Royal Navy aircraft carrier may be sold to India' - UK Guardian

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