FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Chinese military base in Djibouti: Another reason for India to worry
Updated:Aug 2, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
China formally opened its first military base on the Indian Ocean littoral in the small but strategic African country of Djibouti. Outwardly there is no reason for New Delhi to be overly excited by this lone event. Beijing had announced its plans to set up a base there a few years ago and the ships carrying the first batch of base personnel left China last month. Djibouti rents portions of its territory to foreign countries as a revenue model: France, the United States and Japan have military bases there.
 
China has described the base as a logistics facility and that it would be used to support anti-piracy and humanitarian missions in the Horn of Africa. This is not without basis. China has been an active participant in fighting Somali pirates. It has begun deploying blue-helmeted peacekeepers in places like South Sudan.
 
Nonetheless, India has reason to be wary. Over the years, China has put forward the argument that it needs to project its military and political influence into the Indian Ocean to safeguard energy and trade supplies. It will have further interests if and when the various Belt Road Initiative projects in the Indian Ocean region come up.
Beijing also seems to believe that it must be more active in holding up its friend, Pakistan. While China denies this, there is a widespread expectation that its work on expanding Gwadar’s facilities will eventually convert that Pakistani port into a de facto Chinese naval base. Even the Djibouti base seems to be preparing for a larger role: It already has aerial facilities probably designed for long-range drones and a number of underground structures.
 
 
India’s response must be to deepen and widen its own footprint in the ocean that bears its name. Nothing can be done to stop China or any other country from building bases or investing in the Indian Ocean region. New Delhi, however, must seek to ensure that Beijing is not the only game in town.
 
It has already begun the spadework in this direction with its outreach to African littoral states, trying to build up the Bay of Bengal area and bringing the island states in the ocean closer. Usefully it has also sought to do so in cooperation with other countries like Japan. The truth remains that the Indian Ocean is a geopolitical vacuum which will inevitably attract the attention of external players.
 
New Delhi should remain open to a dialogue with Beijing to address the latter’s concerns about the Indian Ocean – though Beijing has so far shown little interest in such a discussion.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Morocco go back a millennium with the first recorded links dating to the 14th century, when the famous traveller and writer from Tangier, Ibn Batuta, travelled to India.
 
read-more
Stepping up action against terrorists attacking India, President Donald Trump's Administration has declared Hizb-ul Mujahideen (HM) a “global terrorist organisation” in an attempt to choke off financial and other support to it.
 
read-more
On 14 August 1947 Pakistan, consisting of East and West Pakistan, celebrated its independence. The 14th was chosen for the ceremony because Lord Mountbatten who came to Karachi as the Chief Guest had to later leave for Delhi where ot the midnight stroke India was to declare its independence.
 
read-more
The Doklam stand-off and a variety recent opinion pieces in magazines and newspapers draws attention to the poor state of defence policy preparedness and the lack of meaningful higher defence control in India. 
 
read-more
The two ideologically divergent ruling partners - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - in Jammu and Kashmir are headed for a showdown as the debate over the abrogation of Article 35A of the Constitution of India heats up.
 
read-more
At the root of the present Doklam crisis is China’s intrusion into Bhutanese territory for its road building projects. These connectivity projects are integral to President Xi Jinping’s dream project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India and Bhutan were the only two countries that did not participate in the first forum
 
read-more
Come October, America’s crude war of revenge on Afghanistan will enter its seventeenth year.
 
read-more
A vast majority of countries want to eliminate the existential threat of nuclear catastrophe, and rightly so. But achieving a world free of nuclear weapons is easier said than done, and there is a risk that some attempts to do so could prove self-defeating.
 
read-more
It is a privilege to be invited to this most prestigious of law schools in the country, more so for someone not formally lettered in the discipline of law. I thank the Director and the faculty for this honour.
 
read-more
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.

 
Column-image

This is the continuing amazing spiritual journey of a Muslim man from Kerala who plunged into Vedic religion after a chance encounter with a Hindu mystic under a jackfruit tree in the backyard of his house when he was just nine. It is a story w...

 
Column-image

History is told by the victors but in our modern age, even contemporary events get - or are given - a slant, where some contributors soon get eclipsed from the narrative or their images tarnished.

 
Column-image

Humans have long had a fear of malignant supernatural beings but there may be times when even the latter cannot compare with the sheer evil and destructiveness mortals may be capable of. But then seeking to enable the end of the world due to it...

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive