Dynamics of the Indian-Chinese maritime confrontation

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India’s decision to send a ship to the Indian Navy Shivalik to participate in multilateral naval exercises in the northeastern Chinese port of Qingdao aroused some interest among naval observers.

The naval exercises dedicated to the 65 anniversary of the creation of the Navy of the People’s Liberation Army of China were held simultaneously with the Navy symposium of the countries of the Western Pacific. China hosted the event for the first time. Earlier, Beijing canceled a naval review that was planned to be held before the exercise, citing "special conditions" caused by the ongoing attempts to locate the missing MH370 liner in the South Pacific.

In addition, military ships from Bangladesh, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia joined the exercises. The presence of the Pakistani warship was the cause of the greatest excitement among Indian analysts. After the Indian Ocean Navy Symposium in Perth last month, in which the head of the Pakistan Navy took part, the joint performance of the warships of two obvious eternal rivals in the Indian Ocean was indeed a significant event. The Indian Navy and the Pakistani Navy are separated by known cold relations, and even despite the fact that neither side has, for a long time, the reasons for deep animosity and suspicion, the lack of political trust was evident. The Qingdao exercises provided the Navy of both countries with a good opportunity to initiate some forms of operational contact.

The sensation caused by the appearance of Indian and Pakistani warships in one photo frame is unlikely to divert the attention of analysts from the main topic of the day: the emerging Indo-Chinese naval competition. Official sources tried to portray the participation of India in the exercises organized by the Chinese Navy as a “routine,” and yet they were filled with symbolism and strategic capabilities, which made them suitable for in-depth analysis.

To begin with, it is undoubtedly very important to observe the participation of the Indian Navy in exercises in Qingdao in the light of recent events. In itself, an invitation to participate in multilateral military exercises does not indicate a fundamental strategic shift in relations. The naval forces, even those that share hostile relations, often interact when it comes to regional and collective problems. The Indian Navy and the PLA Navy regularly interacted in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. And even together they participated in exercises in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. India and China, as is known, have different geographical zones of maritime interests, and both are definitely uncomfortable with the presence of another in their own theaters of maritime influence.

India’s wariness regarding Chinese military modernization and sea buildup has led New Delhi to consistently reject Beijing’s legitimacy in the Indian Ocean, especially its participation in maritime management in regional institutions such as the Association for Regional Cooperation with the Indian Ocean (ARSIO). Chinese participation quickly became perceived as a concession to China’s growing diplomatic and economic credibility. Beijing also does not welcome the naval attacks of India in the South China Sea.

And yet, New Delhi in recent months has demonstrated greater willingness to consider China’s offshore projects. During the 17 meeting of special representatives of China and India on border issues in February of this year, India seemed to be openly ready to join the Sea Silk Road, a grand maritime project proposed by Beijing that promises development of trade, infrastructure and integration. It is reported that the Indian representative did not openly show enthusiasm for this proposal. But at the same time, he did not reject this offer. India’s likely optimism about the Sea Silk Road could most likely be dictated by India’s desire to engage in a constructive maritime dialogue with China.

Interestingly, two weeks ago, the PLA Navy conducted widely publicized exercises in the Eastern Indian Ocean. The exercise was marked by the appearance of the Changbaishan, the largest Chinese amphibious transport ship; the strange thing is that it did not cause any protests from India, as if this incident was not worthy of any official reaction. *

Sea Silk Road

The ambiguous political attitude of New Delhi to the growing presence in the Indian Ocean has deep causes. India, like other countries of the Indian Ocean, was amazed at the scale of the Sea Silk Road. A project that complements another Chinese project: "New Silk Road" - an economic initiative to develop regions that lie along the ancient route connecting West China with South and Central Asia. The Sea Silk Road project will benefit in the short term, which Beijing has convincingly emphasized in front of all its potential customers in the Indian Ocean. The promised commercial profit was indeed a decisive factor in the support of the project by the countries of the region. Financial benefits, however, have their price and entail long-term consequences that impinge on regional maritime security.

While smaller details are still unclear, the Sea Silk Road project is known to include the construction of ports, logistics centers, warehouses and the creation of free trade zones. Another reasonable rationale for this project is that it is a lever of Chinese "soft" politics. By offering this maritime initiative, which is potentially beneficial to all states in the region, Beijing hopes to strengthen its image as a benevolent power. The idea is to use the commercial returns of the project in order to establish the legitimacy of China’s interests in the Indian Ocean. Of course, the related proposal concerning the Maritime Cooperation Fund, announced by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang last year, complicated the attempts of the states of the region to abandon the Silk Road.

Interestingly, when the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, made this proposal during his visit to Southeast Asia in October 2013, the Sea Silk Road project was supposed to promote cooperation and benevolent relations between China and the ASEAN countries. The follow-up visit of the Chinese leader to Sri Lanka and India and inviting them to join the project demonstrated a broader vision covering the entire Indo-Pacific region.

However, the overall economic benefits can not hide the real purpose of this project: to ensure the safety of sea communications linking the Indian and Pacific oceans. Since African resources have become the focus of today's China’s attention, the project should have been an alternative to the long Chinese shipping lines that run from the east coast of Africa to the southern coast of China. These lines are created, maintained and controlled by Beijing. Therefore, in its final form, the Sea Silk Road must ultimately establish Chinese logistics centers in the Indian Ocean and connect the already existing “string of pearls”.

In India, it seems, they are redefining their maritime perspective in the light of new realities. China’s growing economic relations with individual states of the Indian Ocean, significant financial and diplomatic investments in Chinese state-owned companies that are strengthening their positions in Asia and Africa, the extensive infrastructure network that is being built in Asia makes all this impossible for India or for any other power of the region to stop the offensive of the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean. More importantly for India, Beijing’s significant logistical and technological capabilities will be accompanied by a commensurate political will and military force to implement its extensive plan.

Fix

The Indian political elite realizes that the Indian Navy will soon face competition from the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean. After the disappearance of the MH370 airliner, China was the most active participant in the exploration work, using more than 11 warships and coast guard vessels that searched extensive areas of the southern Indian Ocean. With the growth of its maritime capabilities, the Chinese Navy is ready to play a major role in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, in spite of its strategic concerns, New Delhi needs to find a sensible compromise.

The predicament of India underlines the fundamental axiom: on the chessboard of international geopolitics, the context of the strategic proposal is as important as its content. India may resist the idea that the Indian Ocean will be surrounded by Chinese infrastructure and the logistics outposts of the PLA Navy, but China’s growing influence in the region and Indian institutional weakness prevent it from happening.

New Delhi’s new pragmatic approach, however, has a sober downside: Beijing’s growing involvement in the security and governance of this region ultimately poses a serious challenge to the influence and status of India in the Indian Ocean. What looks like a win-win proposition today may turn out to be a zero-sum offer tomorrow. This is a complex equation that India can hardly solve in its own favor, unless, of course, it has enough common sense to make tough strategic moves and decisions. The gradual appropriation of the Indian Ocean by China will only weaken the geopolitical position and strategic influence of New Delhi in the region.

Abhijit Singh is a staff member at the Institute of Defense Research and Analysis, an expert on maritime security in the Indian Ocean. Co-author of the book "Challenges of the Indian Ocean - Challenges for Cooperative Solutions"
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  1. -6
    25 May 2014
    Dynamics of the Indian-Chinese maritime confrontation

    Darts Air they would arrange ..)))
    1. +9
      25 May 2014
      Admins remove this pearl of mine ..)) Please .. carries me ..! )))
      1. +2
        25 May 2014
        Quote: MIKHAN
        Admins remove this pearl of mine ..)) Please .. carries me ..! )))

        Vital, and they have a chance in such a biathlon to bite! and what ARJUN against TYPE ... interesting! wassat
      2. +2
        25 May 2014
        Meehan-go sleep
    2. +1
      25 May 2014
      Quote: MIKHAN
      Dynamics of the Indian-Chinese maritime confrontation

      Darts Air they would arrange ..)))

      They need to be invited to the international Darts Air which will take place in a month in Voronezh. (Maybe they already invited) But what. let them fly, shoot, talk with everyone. Nothing wrong with that, on the contrary
  2. +2
    25 May 2014
    The Indian political elite is aware that the Indian Navy will soon face competition from the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean. After the disappearance of the MH370 airliner, China was the most active participant in search operations, using more than 11 warships and coast guard vesselssearching the vast sections of the southern Indian Ocean. With the growth of its maritime potential, the Chinese Navy is ready to play a big role in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, despite its strategic concerns, New Delhi needs to find a prudent compromise.

    I don’t understand why the foam is !!! The citizens were Chinese, so there are so many ships !!! They were looking for their own ...
  3. +2
    25 May 2014
    Some kind of article ... On the one hand ... on the other hand ... Boltology. First about Pakistan, then a sharp turn to China. A lot of words, and no information. Ominusovat.
  4. 0
    25 May 2014
    The world is multipolar ... there are no unambiguous colors ... only black or only white ...
    It is necessary to understand the price of the unions ... they are arenas ... their term is equal to the term of mutual interests ... therefore the pragmatism of Indian politicians ... is the most correct tactic in the circumstances.
  5. -3
    25 May 2014
    India is generally strange .. The people are a lot like .. (they will fight with the Chinese .. obviously) I hope without nuclear weapons .. Overpopulation however .. Yes cynical so what?
  6. +1
    25 May 2014
    I AGREE TO THE MENTOR. I AM NOT ME. HORSE IS NOT MY.
  7. 0
    25 May 2014
    Yes sobsno China and will not be allowed to appropriate the Indian Ocean. Like it or not, but there are many serious players.
  8. 0
    25 May 2014
    An article about the sea, therefore, obviously, a lot of water in the article. India and China are not great friends, but not great enemies either. Incidents of the past still prevail in the current conditions, but as these states coexist peacefully, tensions between them will subside.
  9. +5
    25 May 2014
    Not talking about the article.
    God grant that finally India, China, Pakistan will be reconciled. They have all sorts of disagreements, resolve peacefully. the enmity between you is beneficial only to the naglosaks.
    1. 0
      25 May 2014
      sterlya-your words yes, as they say to God’s ears, but alas, this will not happen until the United States tame the countries to quarrel among themselves. instability in the world-the ability of America to implement the principle with impunity, divide and rule
  10. 0
    25 May 2014
    Everything is natural, what is happening now, there was a time when the United States and Russia also started, and this happened with 45g. Now, someone has also reached a certain level and the same fuss, nothing new! hi
  11. Repty
    0
    25 May 2014
    Quote: Rostovchanin
    Rostovite Today, 14:37 New
    The Indian political elite realizes that the Indian Navy will soon face competition from the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean. After the disappearance of the MH370 airliner, China was the most active participant in the exploration work, using more than 11 warships and coast guard vessels that searched extensive areas of the southern Indian Ocean. With the growth of its maritime capabilities, the Chinese Navy is ready to play a major role in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean. Therefore, in spite of its strategic concerns, New Delhi needs to find a sensible compromise.

    I don’t understand why the foam is !!! The citizens were Chinese, so there are so many ships !!! They were looking for their own ..



    So maybe the hat is on the thief?

    In addition, among the passengers of the disappeared Boeing were 20 employees of the large American company Freescale Semiconductor, which produces semiconductor components.

    They planted a Boeing at their base, and now 20 employees are boosting the Chinese economy ...

    Well, something like this...
  12. 0
    25 May 2014
    Quote: Sterlya
    Not talking about the article.
    God grant that finally India, China, Pakistan will be reconciled. They have all sorts of disagreements, resolve peacefully. the enmity between you is beneficial only to the naglosaks.

    You know, I personally do not believe in the reconciliation of India and Pakistan. Kashmir State, a mine laid by the British almost seventy years ago, and it worked more than once. Add Bangladesh, which India has overcome from Pakistan and thereby received an eternal headache. Personally, I think that Pakistan is spinning between China and the United States someday will make the final choice. And he will not be in favor of the United States.
    1. 0
      25 May 2014
      Or maybe you need to look at the world more cynically, such as pushovers from a long non-white house? Let two far-off "enemies" of the maleh gnaw each other.
  13. 0
    25 May 2014
    There is no real naval confrontation between India and the PRC.
    The point is not that the Chinese fleet is developing at a faster pace and is aimed at solving more complex problems.
    Both India and China simply have headaches elsewhere. India has a west in Pakistan and in its Muslim states. China has Taiwan and the disputed resource-rich disputed islands on the borders with Japan and Vietnam.
    To this it should be added that armed with our weapons, India and China will experience our pressure by "compulsion to friendship."

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