Prelims cum Mains Security Issues

Expansionist China alarms Pentagon

The News:

  • The Pantagon has released its latest report on “China’s global expansion by military and non-military means”.
  • The report assesses China’s global expansion by military and nonmilitary means, and implications of China’s activities.

The Pentagon: The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. The Pentagon is often used as a metonym (a word that denotes one thing but refers to a related thing) for the U.S. Department of Defense and its leadership.

China’s Global Expansion :

  • China has established its first overseas naval base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa in August 2017. This also hosts marines, infantry combat vehicles and helicopters.
  • To enhance its strategic footprint and emerge as the pre-eminent power in the crucial Indo-Pacific region, China is now looking at Pakistan, Cambodia, Vanuatu and other countries for additional military bases.
  • China has become the world’s fifth largest arms supplier by completing over $20 billion of military sales and transfers between 2012 and 2016.
  • China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, which at first included economic initiatives in Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Europe, now encompasses all regions of the world, including the Arctic and Latin America.
  • China is also using its OBOR and Digital Silk Road initiatives to shape its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean.
  • China is also pursuing global leadership in strategic industries through “Made in China 2025” industrial strategy, and other national documents.

Implications:

  • These bases, and other improvements will increase China’s ability to deter the use of conventional military force, sustain operations abroad, and hold strategic economic corridors at risk.
  • Initiatives like OBOR and Silk Road can develop strong economic ties with other countries and can shape their interests to align with China’s approach or stance on sensitive issues.
  • China’s wider global activities could also be leveraged to exert political influence.

Note:

  • India has also made military logistics pacts to allow its warships access to US bases in Djibouti, Diego Garcia, Guam and Subic Bay as well as French ones in the Reunion Islands (near Madagascar) and Djibouti, but they are not fully operational as of now.
  • Moreover, the plan to set up military bases in Duqm (Oman), Changi (Singapore), Assumption Island (Seychelles) and Sabang (Indonesia) are still some distance away from being realized.

Way ahead:

  • To counter China’s influence India must keep a cautious eye on china’s growing economic and military influence and presence.
  • India needs to get its act together in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The Quad (U.S, Japan, Australia and India )will also be the most important grouping in the Indo-Pacific.

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