The Indian Ocean is the waterway that connects the eastern and western routes to the Middle East and Africa. In order to get into the mix, China is now working to build strategic maritime bases in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Indian Ocean has always been a key waterway for trade between Africa and the Middle East on the one side, and Asian countries on the other. But it has grown in significance in recent years with the rise of China, which cannot secure its dominance in the South China Sea without expanding its presence in the Indian Ocean.
There’s a good reason for it. A blockade of the Strait of Malacca by the US and its alliance would cut China off from Middle East oil supplies and from its “Second Continent,” Africa. However, open trade will prevail.
That’s why Beijing has been cozying up to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, building highways that connect western China to the Indian Ocean — like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor — and by taking over the Gwadar port in Pakistan and the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.
China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean is bad news for the Western Imperialists, because it serves China’s goal to encircle and pacify India. Japan, which sees Beijing enhancing its position as a major competitor in getting access to Middle East & Africa riches looks also to be troubled.
That’s why the India & Japan have been boosting economic and military ties. Japan, for instance, has been helping India improve its infrastructure and nuclear capabilities. And the two nations have been holding joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, like the one in Malabar in the Bay of Bengal last year, and another one this week.
Forbes / AA-Magnum Analyst Blog News-Site 2017.