India is preparing to construct a significant overseas military base on an island in Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.
Last month, Seychelles and India signed a twenty-year agreement, permitting the Indian military to build an airbase and naval installations on Assumption Island, a small island in the Outer Islands of Seychelles north of Madagascar, said Seychelles News Agency.
“This [agreement] reinforces our commitment to not only further deepen India-Seychelles relations, but to also take our partnership to another level,” Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a statement.
“The [mutual] co-operation is exemplified by the operationalization of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System [CSRS] in March 2016, and our commitment to augment the defense assets and capability of Seychelles,” he added.
The agreement enhances India’s military capabilities and maritime surveillance of Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.37 million square km. Assumption Island will serve as a strategic staging area for the Indian military, as the island chain resides between crucial global shipping lanes.
This is key as in 2016 alone, “approximately 40 million barrels of oil per day — equivalent to just under half of the world’s total oil supply — traveled through Indian Ocean entry and exit points, including the Straits of Hormuz, Malacca, and Bab el-Mandeb,” said CNN.
India has already provided Seychelles with military aircraft, helicopters, and naval boats. It has installed a coastal surveillance radar system on one of Seychelles’ islands to conduct intelligence gathering activities. Throughout the years, the waters around Seychelles have seen an abundance of Indian warships conducting anti-piracy patrols
Senior Indian naval officials have stated that the development of military installations on Seychelles is to offset China’s maritime Silk Road strategy in the Indian Ocean.
“The development is a clear indicator that India’s geostrategic frontier is expanding in tandem with China’s growing strategic footprint in the Indo-Pacific,” Captain Gurpreet Khurana, of the Indian Navy’s National Maritime Foundation, said.
As India fears encirclement by militarist China in the Indian ocean, it only leaves us to believe that these nuclear-armed neighbors could be headed for another military conflict. The last time this occurred it was the war of 1962, which India is making the needed preparations on Seychelles’ chain of islands that will ensure another defeat is not an option.
Full article: India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China (ZeroHedge)