Saturday, February 26, 2011

Undoing String of Pearls

Strings of Pearls is referred to growing Chinese relations with the South Asian countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Srilanka, Nepal and Maldives. The major player who is trying to undo these strings is India.

India is always uncertain with the growing influence of China in the region.India is a major player is South Asia and trying to become Blue water navy but there is always a chance that China would try to become a hurdle by setting up there infrastructure in the weaker nations such as Srilanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh. This would become a dilemma for the Indian Navy if China makes naval bases in these countries.
India is trying to solve this problem through many ways. Some to my knowledge are listed below:
  1. India is building her own string of pearls. This string would include all the rivals of China such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam etc.
  2. India is building couple of new naval bases in the East. These naval bases are facing Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  3. India is also trying to gain acceptance from the European nations and United States that she is the best way to stop the influence of China in the future. This aspect is well established and Indian defense deals are exhibiting this perspective.
Japan and India are building major ties in relate to defense. Both countries are finding these relations highly fruitful. Similarly South Korea and Taiwan are all having their grudges against China for various reasons. North Korea is main issue for South Korea and self-sovereignty for the Taiwanese people.
Recently China is in discussion with North Korea to send her troops for the protection for Chinese port facilities. India is worried whether the similar situation will turn out in Myanmar. China is also building railway tracks in Myanmar for the transport of goods from Chinese provinces. This is very important for Chinese growth and would greatly increase military ties between them. Bangladesh recently has signed many new defense deals with China such as purchase of 3 new large fast missile craft and up-gradation of their T-59 tanks fleet to Al-Zarrar standards. There is also a rumor that Bangladesh is opting for J-10 fighter plane.
Sri Lanka call Pakistan and China as their major military suppliers and allies. Pakistan assisted the Government of Sri Lanka in supplying High-Tech military equipment to the Sri Lankan army in the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Srilanka purchased 22 Al-Khalid tanks for $100 million. China relations is growing faster than ever with Srilanka. Latest example was of new Cricket Stadium built with the help of Chinese engineers in Hambantota where Srilanka won by 210 runs against Canada. Hambantota is fast becoming Chinese engineers destination as they are building naval port. China plans to use it as a refuelling and docking station for its navy, as it patrols the Indian Ocean and protects China’s supplies of Saudi oil. The strong point which can lead Sri Lanka to turn for China are aids which has reached to $1 Billion in 2007.
Gwadar is another pain in the ass for India. So this is the time when India is looking for major deals with its own allies such as the purchase of 6 Scorpene class submarines from France and helding competition of well above Rs.42000 Crore for their next generation submarines. India is also involved in building their first indigenous aircraft career and currently buying one from Russia. Not to forget India is also inducting indigenous Nuclear submarine next year. China has a firm ground in South Asia with the likes of Pakistan and Srilanka. Would they be able to create understanding with other nations and gain their acceptance is a major question. Remember economic activities with South Asian nations from India and China will play essential role in winning their hearts.

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