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 Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina assumed office again in Bangladesh in 2009, bilateral relations between New Delhi and Dhaka have been on a steady upward trajectory.
 
read-more
  Nearly 58 per cent of the about 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are children who suffer from severe malnutrition, a UN report released said.
 
read-more
A unique and passionate gathering of acrophiles, or mountain lovers, took place in neat and picturesque Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram state in north-eastern India in September.
 
read-more
India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attained a level of maturity which allows it to assert itself in an effective manner. This is aimed at protecting the country’s national interests in a sustained way.
 
read-more
With over 100 incidents of braid chopping reported in different parts of Kashmir, there is widespread fear and anger among the people.
 
read-more
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's GDP expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters of 2017, an increase of 0.2 percent above that of the corresponding period of last year.
 
read-more
As political roller coasters go, there is none as steep and unpredictable as the one shared by the United States and Iran.
 
read-more
In West Asia, the end of one war paves the way for the next. Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-styled Islamic State (IS), has fallen to a coalition of rebels, the Syrian Democratic Forces that is backed by the United States.
 
read-more
On “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century”
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
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.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive