China’s String of Pearls

China’s String of Pearls

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In China, pearls symbolize ‘genius in obscurity’ and that is the cornerstone for ‘String of Pearls’ as touted by a US researcher – an intelligent strategy by China to box up India in South Asia. This strategy is designed to bolster China’s energy security, negate US influence in the region, and empower overseas bonding ties with diverse countries such as Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. It is a network of naval bases encircling India from the sea and cramping its maritime aspirations.

China’s Malacca dilemma

China’s excessive dependence on the Strait of Malacca led to building of roads and railways into Central Asia for importing Hydrocarbons from the Middle East. This is evident from the construction of parts of the Karakoram highway in southwestern China and northern Pakistan. The action has been condemned strongly by India’s incumbent officers. Though a little late but India has finally felt the power of the Dragon, “New Delhi must accept the reality of the Chinese presence in many sectors previously considered as India’s exclusive domain” admitted Salman Khurshid, Indian Ministry of foreign affairs.

Chinese Investments aren’t just constellation of trade linkages. They are visibly geared towards improvising maritime transport infrastructure but bears great resemblance to a noose woven to encircle and constrict our nation within its own backyard

The ‘Pearls’

The firming up of ties with the south Asian countries has led to joint port construction or enlargement of deals such as with Pakistan at Gwadar, where Chinese companies have poured at least $15 billion (for GWADAR to become new DUBAI). It seems that they have faith in Pakistan’s military ability to look out for their interests. Another bead needed by China is  Hambantoota in Sri Lanka. Here it benefits from non military facilities in a ‘friendly’ country for the transits of its imports and exports. Other pearls are Bangladesh at Chittagong with which it aims to replace Singapore port and Myanmar at Sittwe.

Prophecy

Naval analyst Zhang Ming recently proclaimed that the Islands of Andaman and Nicobar could be used as a metal chain to block Chinese access to the Strait of Malacca. Sustaining and reinforcing Indian maritime diplomacy in the Indian Ocean region could be another step to tackle the Janus-Faced strategic pearls.

19th century strategic thinker Mahan had prophesized that the future of world in 21st century would be decided on the waters of the Indian Ocean. India’s expansion of its maritime power and its inroads in the Indian Ocean region now deserve introspection.

Number of analysts have also drawn attention to the similarities of nationalism, between the rise of Modern China and rise of Wilhelmine Germany in the late 19th century as it is augmenting rapidly into a global system. The Chinese Military is a powerful political player like Germany. Chinese regime is trying to hold on to political power even as it unleashes forces in society that make its control increasingly shaky, so let us see when the World War III commences!!!