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Thread: CPEC and Developments

  1. #211
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Chinese shipping executive in Pakistan shot to death in his car in ‘targeted attack’ | Medium | Feb 06 2018

    A senior Chinese shipping company executive was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan on Monday in what police are describing as a targeted attack.

    45-year-old Chen Zhu, Pakistan general manager of Cosco Shipping Lines, was killed when at least 10 shots were fired at his car with one hitting him in the head.

    While it’s not clear who carried out the attack and for what reason, Karachi police understandably believe that it was not a random mugging, but a targeted attack on Chen.

    Last June, two Chinese nationals who were working as missionaries near the Afghan border were abducted and killed, allegedly by the Islamic State, causing concerns about China’s massive $57 billion infrastructure initiative in Pakistan under the Belt and Road plan.

    Pakistan responded to the incident by deploying a 15,000-strong military force to protect Chinese working on energy and infrastructure projects in the country.

    The following month, China stepped up to the plate to defend Pakistan against criticism from US President Donald Trump, who accused the country of not doing enough to counter terrorism.

    However, in December, China warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for imminent attacks by terrorists against Chinese in the country.
    earlier

    China warns of imminent attacks by "terrorists" in Pakistan | Reuters | Dec 08 2017

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for a series of imminent “terrorist attacks” on Chinese targets there, an unusual alert as it pours funds into infrastructure projects into a country plagued by militancy.

    Thousands of Chinese workers have gone to Pakistan following Beijing’s pledge to spend $57 billion there on projects in President Xi Jinping’s signature “Belt and Road” development plan, which aims to link China with the Middle East and Europe.

    Protecting employees of Chinese companies, as well as individual entrepreneurs who have followed the investment wave along what is known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has been a concern for Chinese officials.

    “It is understood that terrorists plan in the near term to launch a series of attacks against Chinese organizations and personnel in Pakistan,” the Chinese embassy in Pakistan said in a statement on its website.

    The embassy warned all “Chinese-invested organizations and Chinese citizens to increase security awareness, strengthen internal precautions, reduce trips outside as much as possible, and avoid crowded public spaces”.

    It also asked Chinese nationals to cooperate with Pakistan’s police and the military, and to alert the embassy in the event of an emergency.

    It did not give any further details.

    Pakistan’s foreign ministry could not be reached immediately for comment.

    China has long worried about disaffected members of its Uighur Muslim minority in its far western region of Xinjiang linking up with militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    At the same time, violence in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province has fueled concern about security for planned transport and energy links from western China to Pakistan’s deepwater port of Gwadar.

    The Taliban, sectarian groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State all operate in Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan and is at the center of the “Belt and Road” initiative.

    In addition, separatists there have long battled the government for a greater share of gas and mineral resources, and have a long record of attacking energy and other infrastructure projects.

    Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing two kidnapped Chinese teachers in Baluchistan in June, prompting the government in Islamabad to pledge to beef up security for Chinese nationals.

    It had already promised a 15,000-strong army division to safeguard projects along the economic corridor.

    China’s security concerns abroad have grown along with its global commercial footprint.

    In 2016, a suspected suicide car bomber rammed the gates of the Chinese embassy in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, killing the attacker and wounding at least three people.

    Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Robert Birsel

  2. #212
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    /\/\/\ Good terrorist, bad terrorist. Going from China's narrative in the UNSC, killers can never be bad terrorist. They are...........freedom fighters?

    Reported as of yesterday, Pakistan borrows another $500m from Chinese bank

    As of today, Pakistan turns down cheaper loan offer from Japan

  3. #213
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    Japan wanted to pour capital into a tunnel being built as part of CPEC, but China resisted the move, leading Pakistan to refuse the offer.
    Though many countries have expressed the desire to join CPEC, but nobody has so far been able to be part of this Chinese initiative.
    As if an unwritten or implied non-compete clause was in effect and the Paks don't get a say

    When the Delhi Metro was being built a competing bid for Korean coaches was accepted. Japanese were a bit miffed but let it go. The Chinese won't tolerate that i guess.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 18 Feb 18, at 19:09.

  4. #214
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Full article here: https://warontherocks.com/2017/09/wh...in-south-asia/

    Why The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Will Worsen Tensions in Southern Asia
    [...]
    China’s Vague Grand Ambitions

    In the initial phase of work on the CPEC and the Belt and Road Initiative, the primary questions for observers and commentators were “What is China actually doing?” and “What is Beijing ultimately trying to accomplish?” Answers were mixed. At one end of the spectrum were the rosy-eyed optimists and more than a few propagandists who presented China’s actions as driven purely by the desire for economic integration that would present “win-win” opportunities for China as well as the other regional players. The corridor, by this logic, was primarily a massive development scheme by which China could simultaneously serve its own economic agenda as well as that of Pakistan, all without undermining the interests of other states in the region.

    At the other end of the spectrum were those inclined to see every Chinese initiative as a carefully crafted strategic move to advance its own power projection capabilities, build regional geopolitical influence, and, ultimately, further its aim of challenging the United States in Asia and on the world stage. By this logic, China’s main aim in Pakistan was undoubtedly Gwadar port, from which the Chinese navy would gain a valuable foothold in the Arabian Sea. Connecting roads, railways, and even pipelines would enable China to escape its “Malacca Dilemma” by providing a new overland route from the energy-rich Persian Gulf directly to China’s western provinces.

    But neither of these extreme explanations quite held up to scrutiny. Yes, some projects could well make money, and others will at least provide work for Chinese firms that are having trouble competing at home, where infrastructure supply now too often outstrips demand. Yet the economics-only interpretation could not explain China’s apparent willingness to dump considerable sums of money into projects with questionable prospects for repayment. And the security-only interpretation was flawed in two ways: First, because the Pakistanis seemed a great deal more eager to get the Chinese into Gwadar than the Chinese were to deploy naval assets to the region, and second, because the forbidding geography between Pakistan and western China is hardly conducive to massive commercial flows.

    As a consequence, the debate has effectively matured to recognize that China’s motivations in supporting the corridor are mixed. Potential economic gains are real but insufficient; China’s economic investments are too often only justifiable by strategic rationales or, it seems, by the fact that CPEC enjoys the personal and political backing of Xi himself. Individually, China’s strategic moves in Southern Asia are opportunistic works-in-progress, but collectively they reflect deeper and longer-term aspirations for regional hegemony and global preeminence. China, at least for the moment, has bold but still somewhat vague ambitions for Southern Asia and will likely cross this river by “feeling the stones,” as Deng Xiaoping famously said in the context of his own reform efforts. Still at issue is whether the complexities of the region, and especially the longstanding tensions between India and Pakistan, will lead Beijing to slip and fall.

  5. #215
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    The one to read is Andrew Small's latest in Foreign affairs. Gotta register to read : (

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/artic...-belt-and-road

    His speciality is China Pak relations
    Last edited by Double Edge; 18 Feb 18, at 23:01.

  6. #216
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post

    By most Indian estimates, however, China’s backing is more likely to embolden Pakistan than to restrain it. This conclusion is based on the widely held Indian assumption that Pakistan is a revisionist state, not a pure security seeker. Because Pakistan aims to alter the status quo, both in a territorial sense (e.g. Kashmir) and in terms of an overall power balance that increasingly favors India, it will attempt to deploy Chinese power to that end. Put crudely, Pakistan could continue to jab India with proxy forces while collecting potent Chinese military technologies and sheltering behind Chinese defensive security guarantees. Chinese-assisted enhancements to Pakistan’s economic or security condition at home would, from this perspective, only free up resources for a more vigorous competition with India.
    Would like to know more about these guarantees. Have not come across anything on that as yet

  7. #217
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Would like to know more about these guarantees. Have not come across anything on that as yet
    I believe the author is speaking in future tense with regards to that.

  8. #218
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I believe the author is speaking in future tense with regards to that.
    Am sceptical because that is precisely what would embolden the Paks and the Chinese would be left holding the bucket. The Chinese approach to date has been the Paks should fight their own battles. They will offer material, diplomatic, financial support but they are not getting sucked into a fight they didn't begin. This to my mind should then lead to a tempering effect as the Chinese would not appreciate their investments being put in jeopardy over some misadventure. Can't get much agreement on this point as yet though.

    When i read the Lowey article with the bases China has in the area.

    Djibouti, Gwadar, Hambantota and possibly one in Tanzania. They seem configured to all converge on the middle east.

    India isn't even in the picture.

  9. #219
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    My reading of what Markey wrote is that this is an arrangement that Pakistan is seeking from China, in the future. Not that it is the current state of affairs, or that China is going to put Pakistan under their umbrella, so to speak, but rather that what Pakistan is seeking from China is to put them under it. He is referring to Pakistani desires rather than Chinese plans.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 19 Feb 18, at 03:55.

  10. #220
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    They've been wanting that since forever. They started the '65 war expecting the US to bail them out due to being a CENTO member. Does not work like that

  11. #221
    Contributor cataphract's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Djibouti, Gwadar, Hambantota and possibly one in Tanzania. They seem configured to all converge on the middle east.

    India isn't even in the picture.
    Come on man. Hambantota and Gwadar and you still don't see India in the picture? The objective is to have an effective PLAN presence in the Indian Ocean to deny USN and IN complete control of it. Not only is India in the picture but also Diego Garcia.

  12. #222
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cataphract View Post
    Come on man. Hambantota and Gwadar and you still don't see India in the picture?
    Nope, and it took that article to make the picture clear.


    The objective is to have an effective PLAN presence in the Indian Ocean to deny USN and IN complete control of it.
    Very good, now tell me how PLAN intends to pull this off ? can you do that. What force numbers are required, the works. Go for it.

    They'd be hard pressed to deal with the IN alone let alone combined with the USN.

    Do not extrapolate what goes on in the SCS to the Indian Ocean. China is incapable of challenging beyond its shores. Best they can do is offer protection

    The way you see through this BS is understand that external SLOCs are no match for internal ones.

    We can't challenge them in the SCS they can't do squat to us in the IA

    This means their presence in the IA is benign as is ours in the SCS

    Simples

    Not only is India in the picture but also Diego Garcia.
    So say the fear mongers

    The Chinese are coming, the chinese are coming....be very afraid : O

    Pffft
    Last edited by Double Edge; 19 Feb 18, at 15:54.

  13. #223
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    This is one way of keeping the peace

    China woos Pakistan militants to secure Belt and Road projects | FT | Feb 19 2018

    Beijing in talks with tribal separatists in Baluchistan to protect $60bn investment

    Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad and Kiran Stacey in New Delhi


    China has been quietly holding talks with Pakistani tribal separatists for more than five years in an effort to protect the $60bn worth of infrastructure projects it is financing as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

    Three people with knowledge of the talks told the Financial Times that Beijing had been in direct contact with militants in the south-western state of Baluchistan, where many of the scheme’s most important projects are located.

    For more than half a century, Beijing has maintained a policy of non-interference in the domestic politics of other countries. But that has been tested by its desire to protect the billions of dollars it is investing around the world under its Belt and Road Initiative to create a “new Silk Road” of trade routes in Europe, Asia and Africa.

    In Pakistan, Beijing appears keen to fill the void left by Washington, which has drifted from its former ally after becoming frustrated at Islamabad’s failure to tackle extremism. Beijing’s willingness to get involved in Pakistani politics has fuelled concerns in New Delhi, which is worried about China’s growing political influence in neighbouring countries, including Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

    “The Chinese have quietly made a lot of progress,” said one Pakistani official. “Even though separatists occasionally try to carry out the odd attack, they are not making a forceful push.”

    As it seeks to boost the Chinese economy, China’s plans for a new Silk Road has pitched Beijing into some of the world’s most complex conflict zones.


    Chinese peacekeepers are already in South Sudan, where Beijing has invested in oilfields and is planning to build a rail line. China has also contributed troops to a UN peacekeeping operation in Mali and even talked about launching attacks against Isis in Iraq, where it has been the largest foreign investor in the country’s oil sector.

    Pakistan, which is set to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the infrastructure initiative, is one of the riskiest parts of the world in which to do business. Last year 10 local workers were killed by unidentified gunmen while working near Gwadar port, the linchpin of the economic corridor.

    Some have warned that China’s investment could lead to Pakistan being treated like a client state by Beijing, despite promises that Chinese troops would not be stationed there.

    “The Belt and Road Initiative is portrayed as an economic project to boost infrastructure and connectivity but, increasingly, it has significant local political and strategic dimensions,” said Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

    Pakistani officials, however, have welcomed the talks between Baluch rebels and Chinese envoys, even if they do not know the details of what has been discussed. “Ultimately, if there’s peace in Baluchistan, that will benefit both of us,” said one official in Islamabad.


    Another said the recent decision by the US to suspend security assistance to Pakistan had convinced many in Islamabad that China was a more genuine partner. “[The Chinese] are here to stay and help Pakistan, unlike the Americans, who cannot be trusted,” the person said.

    Pakistan is planning to buy Chinese military helicopters and components for surveillance drones as part of its plan to fortify its border with Afghanistan with a 2,600km-long fence.

    Chinese officials did not comment on the talks, though the Chinese ambassador to Islamabad said in a recent interview with the BBC that militants in Baluchistan were no longer a threat to the economic corridor.

    One provincial tribal leader said many young men had been persuaded to lay down their weapons by the promise of financial benefits. “Today, young men are not getting attracted to join the insurgents as they did some 10 years ago,” he said. “Many people see prosperity” as a result of the China-Pakistan corridor, he said.

    This article has been amended to reflect that the 10 workers killed near Gwadar port last year were Pakistanis
    No longer a threat so long as the protection money is paid but inadequate

    China's Terror Dilemma in CPEC: A Xinjiang Strategy (pdf) | ORF Brief | Jan 2018

    This brief aims to examine one of China's possible responses to the various extremist and terrorist activities that plague the internal security of Pakistan, given the necessity of securing its

    US$62 billion investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Given that Pakistan is failing to control this problem, China will have to take measures of its own to secure CPEC. The

    response of China could possibly be inspired by its strategy in Xinjiang, where it has successfully managed to keep the insurgency under control with a mix of hard military power and wide-

    ranging measures aimed at clamping down on the religious rights of Muslims. Such strategy is, however, likely to clash with Pakistan, especially the elements of its 'deep state'. This brief

    explores how a strategy inspired from Xinjiang will operate in Pakistan and the resistance it is likely to meet.
    Xianjiang strategy in Pakistan ? will be fun to watch

    Both the IS and the al-Qaeda have declared China to be an enemy, and have targeted Chinese nationals. Turkistan Islamic Party, the Islamic Extremist Separatist organisation operating in Xinjiang, also allegedly has links to terror outfits in Pakistan, including the TTP and the aL Qaida
    The success of CPEC runs antithetical to the fundamental grievances of the Baloch nationalists demographic change, and economic exploitation. Moreover, organisations like the al-Qaeda and the IS are in ideological opposition to China and its policies and position, especially in the Xinjiang province. The killing in June 2017 of two Chinese nationals by the IS shows that it is unlikely that any financial incentives would stop these groups from targeting China or CPEC.
    So much for the FT article above : |

    The protection of Chinese "overseas interests" has been recognised as a policy objective for the PLA. In another landmark change, Article 71 of the 2015 Counter-Terrorism Law reads,

    "The Chinese People's Liberation Army and Chinese People's armed police forces may assign people to leave the country on counter-terrorism missions".

    Moreover, China has recently acquired its first overseas military base in Djibouti, opening the possibility of China deploying its troops in Pakistan to secure its assets in CPEC.

    The killing of two Chinese nationals in Pakistan had sparked a discussion in China about the possibility of such a deployment
    Last edited by Double Edge; 20 Feb 18, at 16:20.

  14. #224
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Nothing like more competition

    Australia mulls rival to China's 'belt and road' with US, Japan, India | AFR | Feb 18 2018

    Australia is discussing with the United States, India and Japan the establishment of a joint regional infrastructure scheme to rival China's multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in an attempt to counter Beijing's spreading influence.

    A senior US Official told The Australian Financial Review the plan involving four regional partners was still "nascent" and "won't be ripe enough to be announced' during Mr Turnbull's visit, but was being seriously discussed.

    He preferred to describe the plan as an "alternative" to the Belt and Road Initiative rather than a "rival".

    "No one is saying China should not build infrastructure," the official said.

    "China might build a port which, on its own is not economically viable. We could make it economically viable by building a road or rail line linking that port."

  15. #225
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Such screaming headlines

    Cue obligatory byline : The chinese are coming The chinese are coming ..

    Reminds of the time India dropped paras in '88 to take ut some LTTE militants that wanted to overthrow the president there. Job done. Operation cactus

    If the Indian govt wanted to go in they'd have done so by now. So i am left to conclude India didn't intend to go in to begin with and this was mentioned a week back


    Maldives crisis: China sends a naval task force to muscle India, Australia out of power game | News AU | Feb 20 2018

    CHINA is muscling its way into Australia’s backyard. With an island paradise deep in crisis, the superpower sees a chance.

    CHINESE warships have entered the Indian Ocean, marking a significant shift in regional power. They’re there to keep India away from Beijing’s interests in the strife-torn Maldive Islands.

    And their presence has implications for Australia.

    Naval posturing is nothing new. Gunboat diplomacy has been a major player in great power games of thrones for centuries.

    But it is odd for it to be played out so close to home.

    A scattering of pristine coral islands in the Indian Ocean is becoming the next flash point between New Delhi and Beijing.

    The Maldives islands are in the throes of a constitutional crisis.

    The little democracy has traditionally been part of India’s “sphere of influence”. And the eastern Indian Ocean is, of course, of significant strategic importance to Australia.

    But recently a new kid has arrived on the block.

    And now Beijing’s grown enough confidence to let its presence be felt in the area’s affairs.


    A naval force of at least one modern destroyer, a frigate, an amphibious assault ship and a support tanker entered the Indian Ocean last week. It is believed destined to linger off the scenic scatterings of coral, sand and palm trees.

    International affairs analysts believe they’re there to stop India from intervening.

    Beijing, after all, has big plans for these little islands. And it doesn’t want the locals getting in the way.

    These islands are unlikely to appear on anyone’s radar — unless you’re after an idyllic island paradise getaway.

    But the Maldives have suddenly become the centre of a struggle for international influence.

    It’s in the grip of a constitutional crisis.

    Opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed recently dared to state that China was “buying up the Maldives” through President Abdulla Yameen. He highlighted the tiny nation was massively in debt to Beijing, and faced seizure of public assets — such as ports — to help pay it back.

    It wasn’t long after this Yameen had key opposition figures arbitrarily arrested.

    Then Yameen sprung a state of emergency on his people on February 5. It came as the Supreme Court ordered the opposition leaders be released as their arrests had been politically motivated.

    So Yameen sent his security forces to arrest the Supreme Court’s judges.

    This has Beijing bothered. It has invested big in a major port project there.

    But it’s not the money it’s worried about.

    Nor is it the potential collapse of a fragile democracy.

    It has implications for its grand ‘One Belt, One Road’ infrastructure campaign. This is intended to vastly expand China’s economic network — and influence — through Asia, the Middle East and into Europe.

    “Although traditionally within India’s strategic sphere, in recent years the Maldives has become unstable, impoverished and increasingly desperate,” says the Lowy Institute’s Dr David Brewster.

    “Indeed, much of the nation could soon disappear beneath rising sea levels. We may soon see China’s ‘magical island-building ship’ pay a visit to the Indian Ocean.”

    India has always been a roadblock in these plans. But now Beijing’s bypass via the Maldives may be in trouble.

    Which is why it wants New Delhi to keep out.

    BELT AND ROAD AMBITIONS

    Every day, more than 40 million barrels of oil passes through the strategic “chokepoints” at either end of the Indian 0cean. This includes the Straits of Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden and the Malacca Strait.

    All pass through the waters between the Maldives and Ceylon, to India’s south.

    It’s a vital arterial supply line. Not least of all to Beijing.

    Chinese media is boasting about its new naval presence in the Indian Ocean. It’s been proudly displaying photos and video of its modern ships refuelling and reprovisioning at sea on a mission that is certainly a long way from home.

    It’s by no means the first time a Chinese task force has entered the Indian Ocean.

    This time things may be different.



    The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says Beijing’s infrastructure activity is part of a determined strategy to extend its influence across the Indian Ocean — at the expense of India.

    “India has long been concerned about China’s growing maritime interest in the Indian Ocean region,” says ASPI executive director Peter Jennings. “Over the last decade the PLA-Navy has transited through the region many times to participate in UN and EU backed counter-piracy missions off the Horn of Africa. China has established its first overseas military base at Djibouti and is using the ‘One Belt One Road’ strategy to build extensive port infrastructure in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.”

    In that context, the timing of this task force’s arrival in the eastern Indian Ocean is likely to be significant.

    “Sending warships to operate off the Maldives is a new and concerning development, because it shows that China is trying to exercise influence over a small state more usually within India’s strategic view. New Delhi will read this as a worrying move. It will intensify strategic competition and increase mistrust between China and India.”

    Some international observers had been expecting New Delhi to send its own task force to exert influence over the tiny islands’ fate. Instead, it has taken a hands-off approach through an appeal to the United Nations. It wants help to help pressure Yameen into restoring democratic values.

    So Beijing has stepped into the power vacuum with a task force of its own.

    But does India have a strong enough presence to keep Beijing out of its own backyard?

    OPTIONS OPEN

    The chances of any clash between India and China are very low.

    But the true impact of the Beijing’s warships is being felt in the corridors and back rooms of power throughout the region.

    The warships give Beijing options. And status.

    If things take a sudden turn for the worse in the Maldives, it can present itself as an international hero by quickly landing its troops in a “humanitarian intervention”.

    It could lift its own citizens out of trouble — and those of other nations. It could impose in a “peace keeping” force to support the local political entity of its choice.

    That such acts would irreparably damage India’s influence and status is an unspoken benefit.

    It would also cement Beijing’s intimidating presence in what is a key “chokepoint” for its “belt” project.

    If, however, the Maldives crisis does not worsen, the mere presence of Chinese warships acts as a deterrent to Indian intervention. It’s also a neon-sign of Beijing’s determination to wield its new-found influence worldwide.

    The force Beijing appears to have deployed may seem small. But it is capable.

    The Type 052D guided missile destroyer (Luyang-III class) is among its most modern combat ships. With a crew of 280 and weighing some 7500 tons, it carries a helicopter, land-attack cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and anti-submarine missiles.

    The Type 054A frigate (Jiangkai II) is one of more than 21 of these modern frigates deployed by Beijing. It is a stealthy design, intended primarily to supplement the air defence of a task force, though it also has some anti-surface and submarine capability.

    The Type 071 amphibious transport dock is ideal for humanitarian relief — and landing forces of troops. It can carry a variety of amphibious assault vehicles and landing craft, along with two helicopters. But it also operates hospital and command-and-control facilities. It has accommodation for up to 800 troops.

    It’s also backed-up by China’s 28th Anti-Piracy Task Force out of Africa. It’s believed to have wandered closer to the middle of the Indian Ocean in recent weeks

    DEEP IMPLICATIONS

    India has not been sitting idle. It has been modernising its own navy. Like China, it is one of just a few nations operating fixed-wing aircraft carriers.

    Neither is currently operating near the Maldives.

    But New Delhi has also just signed a deal with the Seychelles islands to establish a mid-Indian Ocean naval facility of its own.

    “Despite these dramatic developments, the shape and future purpose of China’s naval presence in the Indian Ocean remains an open question,” Dr Brewster says. “We should not automatically assume that the Chinese navy intends to challenge the US Fifth Fleet, at least in the short term. China will remain at a big geographic disadvantage in the Indian Ocean.”

    This is because it does not have the complex and extensive supply network that the other major international influence in the region — the US 5th Fleet — has.

    But it’s working on it.

    There’s also bound to be pushback.

    “China’s move may reinforce a growing Indian interest to co-operate more closely with Australia,” Mr Jennings says.

    “The idea of quadrilateral co-operation between India, Australia, Japan and the US — which was abandoned a decade ago because of worries it would be seen to contain China — is now firmly back on the agenda.

    “It would be ironic if China’s rather amateurish attempts to build political influence in the Maldives led to enhanced co-operation between the democracies on Indian Ocean security.”
    Last edited by Double Edge; 21 Feb 18, at 05:33.

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