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China’s “String of Pearls” Strategy Resulted in India’s 1st Loss at the Indian Ocean

India is aggressively looking to counter China’s String of Pearls Strategy in the Indian Ocean. But how did India lose its first strategic battle due to China’s String of Pearls Strategy, and how New Delhi plans to counter String of Pearls to suffocate China?

China’s String of Pearls

India has long been apprehensive about China active engagement in the Indian Ocean and being encircled in what is called China’s “String of Pearls”. With Pakistan’s Gwadar port, China has activated the lethargic minds of the Indian Government which now may have to deal with a combined Pakistan-China threat.

China Plans to Create a Military Base in Pakistan at Gwadar Port: US Media

There are also reports of a Chinese military base planned in Jiwani, Pakistan and another in Bangladesh. When these projects get operational, it will plant China’s military right in India’s backyard, with full access to the Bay of Bengal.

India’s 1st Loss at the Indian Ocean 

Recently during the Maldives crisis, India got a taste of how an advanced and ever-expanding presence of Chinese Navy in the Indian ocean can be detrimental to India’s interest. After the president of the Maldives declared a state of emergency, India dispatched aircraft and ships to its southern bases but called off any possible operation, after China also quickly dispatched its own Naval forces to counter any Indian threat. The more bases that China creates, the more they expand their naval strength, China will be in a position to dominate the oceans, trade, oil routers, and deploy forces quickly, like in the case of Maldives.

After the South China Sea, Is China Now Claiming the Indian Ocean?

India-France Historical Pact

Recently, India and France signed a historic agreement where both nations could access their naval bases in the Indian Ocean. This comes two years after a similar deal was signed with the US, which signifies India’s distrust on China and countering Beijing’s extension into India’s traditional area of dominance.

India’s agreement with France is, hence, an acceleration of India’s capacity to project power. The India-France Agreement enables the Indian navy to access the strategically vital French ports, including Djibouti, which is also home to China’s only overseas military facility. The Djibouti base has a capacity of around 10,000 troops and is essential for China to create an impact in the Indian Ocean.

India’s Counter to China’s String of Pearls

India has also been actively working to counter China’s String of Pearls by making their own String of Pearls around China. Indian PM Narendra Modi clinched an agreement to create a new base in Seychelles (for which India further needs to engage the opposition), negotiated military facility at Oman’s Duqm Port, developed expansive bases on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, signed a deal with Iran on Chabahar Port, inked India-France pact on Djibouti, gained access to Madagascar, besides having a pact with Vietnam and Singapore to counter China’s String of Pearls.

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