Chinese March Past Indian Ocean To Bab el- Mandeb Via Gulf of Aden

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Robin K. Dhowan speaking at
annual press conference while Captain DK Sharma looks on
Shailesh Kumar,
New Delhi, 03 November 2015
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Robin K. Dhowan said today in Indian Navy’s annual press conference in response to a question, “As far as Chinese plan to built base (military base at Djibouti) goes, that is their plan; whatever is our situational requirement in Indian Ocean- we have to shape a favorable maritime environment, for which what we need to do, we are looking into that”. However, confirmation of Chinese decision on setting up a supply depot or bújǐ zhàn as Chinese call rang alarm bells in intelligence and strategic circles in India and America. Strategist believe that in disguise of a logistic base being set up to tackle piracy in Gulf of Aden, 7,700 km away from its Beijing, Chinese have designs for building a discreet military base in Djibouti to create a choke point at Bab el-Mandeb  in response to its ‘Malacca dilemma’ in Indian ocean.  

Obock, Djibouti where China setting up its military base
Chinese understand the strategic importance of Bab el-Mandeb strait as who controls the Horn of Africa controls the world economy. Almost all trade between the European Union and China, India, Japan or rest of Asia passes through the Bab el-Mandeb straits. About 30 per cent of the world’s oil and natural gas from the Persian Gulf moving to west passes through this route only. If Indian ‘Iron Curtain’ falls in Strait of Malacca blocking its trade, it can launch counter attack by choking Indian supply route at Bab el- Mandeb strait thus neutralizing its ‘Malacca dilemma’.  

Admiral RK Dhowan
China since 2008 has sent 21 task forces totaling 60 naval vessels including a Yuan class submarine on anti-piracy mission in Gulf of Aden as part of their strategy for PLA Navy to familiarise itself with 'far seas operations'. India does not object sailing past even a Chinese a submarine in Indian ocean as she believes the waters being part of ‘global commons’ and ocean for free trade. However, Chinese have started having a stronger military particularly naval presence in Indian ocean Region to encircle India as part of its ‘String of Pearls’ policy.  Off late Chinese harp on ‘Maritime Silk Road’ as part of its ‘One Belt- One Road’ project strategy. But what is Indian response?

Chinese Submarine
“We as on date have prepared a cooperation road map for 10 years, in which lies how do we interact with the neighboring friendly countries which are in the region. Many are the organisations like Indian Ocean Naval Symposium in which as on date there are 22 nation, 4 are as observers; the cooperation happens with these countries.

And with rest of the countries, the cooperation goes in terms of capacity building and capacity enhancement”, emphasized Chief of Naval Staff. “Our ships are also in EZ of other countries and do surveillance like in Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives etc”, he added.

Chinese Trade Representative Route Map 
By building a military base, China intends to break the American-French-Japan hegemony in the region as all these nations already have their military bases in Djibouti. In Fact a fourth European Naval unit also has a permanent military has in Djibouti. China has ambitious plans to become a global maritime power. For the purpose Beijing signed a military agreement with Djibouti allowing the Chinese navy to use Djibouti port in February 2014. Djibouti a small nation with population of 90,000 mostly rely on rent income out of its leased military bases. Indian response to Chinese expansion is best described by Chief of Naval Staff in the words of Narendra Modi, “Our prime Minister also said, when was travelling to Mauritius and seychelles that there should be concept of ‘Sagar’ i.e. “Security And Growth for All in the Region”.  So we will take care of our security requirements, explains Admiral Dhowan.


Malacca Starit 
China has firmly established strategic relation with Djibouti through billions of dollars of investment in its port and construction of a rail line to neighboring Ethiopia. It is firmly consolidating its One Belt- One Road project while encircling India with naval bases in Indian Ocean Region to be used in times of hostilities as it has to favorably settle its huge border with India. Meanwhile, Indian “Project Mausam” still swings between the South West and North Easterly winds currently at standstill.
Chinese March Past Indian Ocean To Bab el- Mandeb Via Gulf of Aden Chinese March Past Indian Ocean To Bab el- Mandeb Via Gulf of Aden Reviewed by Shailesh Kumar on 12:49:00 AM Rating: 5
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