Monday, January 18, 2021

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

The Doklam standoff weakened the India-China ties but are there other battles brewing between the two nations? Is China trying to make the Indian ocean as the Chinese ocean? How does China plan to control the Indian ocean?

China is keen to take over the Indian ocean and make it the Chinese ocean, in terms of trade, commerce and investments. China has started extensive groundwork and infrastructural investments to claim the Indian ocean with projects like the Colombo and Hambantota ports in Sri Lanka that allow a trade outpost for China in the Indian ocean. The western region of China is also soon to be connected by the CPEC project.

Also Read: India’s First Shipment of Goods To Enter Afghanistan via Chabahar Port

After the recent Maldives crisis, the India-China ties were shaken up yet again, after China asked India to stop ‘intervening’. What does not come as a surprise now is that China is now working towards making the Maldives another outpost for trading after acquiring considerable land in the country. China and Maldives have also signed a free trade agreement.

India-China Ties Stir Up, Yet Again!

These recent developments and infrastructural investments by China have definitely stirred up the already fragile India-China ties. The main reason for India to be disturbed by all the happenings is the effect it could have on economics and trade. With Sri Lanka and the Maldives as an economic and trade base for China, the Indian market could be flooded with Chinese products. Since the Maldives shares a free trade agreement with both India and China, this ‘flooding’ becomes easier.

Also Read: India’s Foreign Relations with SAARC Under Pressure After Chinese Entry

Another reason for India to pay closer attention to the new India-China ties is that these trade outposts could easily serve as military outposts too. This geopolitical factor is a threat to security for India. Although China has repeatedly assured that these outposts are for trade alone, considering the current India-China ties, these doubts and apprehensions come naturally for India.

So is China trying to take over the Indian ocean? How will these new trade and economic dynamics affect the India-China ties?

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