Chinese naval base for Walvis Bay

STRATEGY … Walvis Bay is set to be part of China’s overseas military bases.

 

DISCUSSIONS are under way at the ‘highest levels’ regarding plans by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy to build a base at Walvis Bay in the next 10 years.

According to reports in the Chinese media, Walvis Bay will be one of 18 naval bases that will be established in various regions: Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mynanmar in the northern Indian Ocean; Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in the western Indian Ocean; and Seychelles and Madagascar in the central South Indian Ocean.

“These three strategic lines will further enhance China’s effectiveness in taking responsibility for maintaining the safety of international maritime routes thereby maintaining regional and world stability,” the media reports said.

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PLA sub’s Sri Lanka visit suggests China projecting power into Indian Ocean

The Changzheng 2, a Type 091 Han-class nuclear-powered submarine has become the first Chinese submarine to visit Colombo Harbor in Sri Lanka according to the website of state-run Sri Lanka News on Sept. 15. Continue reading

Heavy Chinese military build-up in Tibet: Sangay

DHARAMSHALA, July 27 – The Chinese goal is beyond Tibet and that country has border disputes not only with India, but with almost all its neighbours. This observation was made by Dr Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dr Sangay pointed out that China has been trying to expand its bases after forcefully occupying Tibet and in recent times, the country “highly militarised” Tibet. He revealed that a number of military towns have been set up in Tibet, which has a long border with India, and five major military airfields have been constructed, while the sixth is under construction. He revealed that the Kongpo military airfield is just 50 kilometres from the international border in Arunachal Pradesh. Apart from the six major airfields, a number of small airfields and helipads were constructed just near the international border, he added. Continue reading

India’s own string of pearls: Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives

On 7 March, Shiv Shankar Menon, India’s National Security Advisor, announced that the Indian Ocean island states of Seychelles and Mauritius had joined India’s naval arrangement with Sri Lanka and the Maldives in a new Indian Ocean security grouping that some have called the ‘IO-5’.

The new arrangement signals a significant consolidation of India’s leading security role among the Indian Ocean islands. It is a manifestation of last year’s announcement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that henceforth India should be seen as a ‘net security provider to the region.’ While Mr Singh did not specify the boundaries of India’s ‘region’ it was clear that much of the initial focus was on the Indian Ocean islands. Continue reading

Great powers manoeuvre in Asia

Consider the territorial disputes roiling the Indian Ocean and other East Asian regions, sparked by China’s repeated _ and increasingly assertive _ efforts to claim sovereignty over vast maritime areas. As China’s incursions reignite long-smouldering disagreements and threaten to destabile [sic] the regional status quo, countries throughout Asia are reconsidering their strategic positions.

For example, the Philippines is revamping its security strategy by enhancing cooperation with the United States _ China’s counterweight in the region _ only two decades after it closed two major American military installations, the naval base at Subic Bay and Clark Air Base. Vietnam, too, has strengthened its ties with the US. And, after decades of absence, America has resumed training programmes for Indonesia’s military. Continue reading

Chinese firm to build $1.4 bln Port City

Sri Lanka has signed a deal with a Chinese company to build a $1.4 billion city complex on reclaimed land near the harbour of the capital Colombo, an official said Wednesday.

The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will reclaim 230 hectares (568 acres) next to the new Colombo South port, said SLPA chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama. Continue reading

SCO contemplates expanding membership

By opening its doors to India, Iran and Pakistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will increase its legitimacy and effectiveness among regional and international powers, and enhance its power posture in the international scene.

During the recent meeting of foreign ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi emphasized how the group has “actively pushed forward the regional cooperation.” He also reiterated that China would abide by its “policy of friendship and partnership with neighbouring countries.” This spirit of cooperation or what is referred in sections of media as ‘Shanghai Sprit’ was also reiterated during the meeting of defence ministers of the group held in last week of June 2013 in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. The widening of the SCO’s membership to include India, Iran and Pakistan will accrue numerous advantages to the group and strengthen its capacity to realise its goal of regional peace and stability. Continue reading

Is Sri Lanka Becoming A Key Player In China’s String Of Pearls?

China has offered Sri Lanka new loans for infrastructure projects, worth US$ 2.2 billion dollars. In a reply to a question, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mr. Hong Lei told the news media that in addition to infrastructure loans, both countries agreed to further deepen defence cooperation and maintain exchanges between two defence ministries, whilst they continue to carry out in cooperating defence technology, personal training and other fields. Yet, the spokesperson did not reveal further details regarding the nature of the new strategic cooperation.

Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister Professor G. L. Peiris, mentioned in an interview with Global Times that, Sri Lanka will embrace China’s rise and characterised bilateral ties as “very warm and mutually supportive”. He also mentioned that China has “stood the test of time”, referring to the military support the country extended during the last phase of the war against the LTTE, as well as the support given to Sri Lanka against a US-backed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Continue reading

Building on ties: New premier indicates plan to link Gwadar with China

Newly-elected Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, in his maiden speech, revealed that Islamabad and Beijing have expressed a keen desire to implement the Gwadar-Khunjerab-Kashgar rail network. The project had been discussed during talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his recent visit to Pakistan.

While PM Sharif said the actual details of the project would be shared at a later date, he also stated that both countries will soon establish a taskforce to complete the project within the next five years, indicating that it may be implemented on a fast-track basis.

The successful implementation of the Gwadar-Khunjerab-Kashgar rail network will help China secure oil supply and commercial routes on the Indian Ocean, furthering its plans to secure yet another strategic energy and trade corridor. Besides, the project is expected to provide a major boost to Pakistan’s sinking economy. Continue reading

China flexes muscle in Indian Ocean, Navy concerned

NEW DELHI: Increasing presence of the Chinese maritime forces in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and disciplinary issues in the force are expected to be discussed by the top Navy brass in their commanders’ conference starting on Tuesday.

The Navy has been concerned over the increasing presence of Chinese navy’s submarines and other warships in the IOR. In a recent report submitted to the defence ministry, the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters had informed the government quoting the data by American agencies that 22 encounters of Chinese submarines have taken place outside its territorial waters in the IOR.  Continue reading