Does China Know Why an Indian Aircraft Carrier Went Ablaze?

Does China Know Why an Indian Aircraft Carrier Went Ablaze?

Michael Peck

Politics, Asia

By Indian Navy - http://indiannavy.nic.in/sites/default/files/images/V_aditya_6.jpg, GODL-India, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30528752

No, but they think they do.

The Indian Navy reported that the fire had not seriously damaged the combat capabilities of the vessel, which is India’s only operational carrier. The 45,000-ton Vikramaditya – the ex-Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov — had just completed a deployment in the Arabian Sea, and was preparing to begin joint exercises with the French Navy’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, off the Indian coast.

India’s only aircraft carrier suffered a fire that left one sailor dead.

And China, which is India’s rival, says this is because Indians aren’t competent enough to operate advanced military equipment.

(This appeared first earlier May 2019.)

The fire broke out in the engine room of the carrier Vikramaditya as it entered the Indian naval base at Karwar on April 26.

The blaze was extinguished, but not before an Indian Navy lieutenant commander, who led the firefighting effort, was overcome by fumes and later died in hospital, according to Indian media. He had gotten married just a month earlier.

The Indian Navy reported that the fire had not seriously damaged the combat capabilities of the vessel, which is India’s only operational carrier. The 45,000-ton Vikramaditya – the ex-Soviet carrier Admiral Gorshkov — had just completed a deployment in the Arabian Sea, and was preparing to begin joint exercises with the French Navy’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, off the Indian coast.

The cause of the fire has not yet been disclosed. But Chinese media quickly ran a story that suggested the fire was the result of Indian incompetence. Li Jie, a Chinese naval expert, told the state-owned Global Times newspaper “that the fire was more likely to be out of human error rather than mechanical problems. The fire and the extinguishing process suggested that they are unprofessional and unprepared to address such an emergency, he said.”

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