Opening a berth


China keen to deploy submarines in Pakistan permanently

China is looking for a permanent submarine and warship berthing facility in the newly created Gwadar Port of Pakistan and four submarines are likely to be parked in the territorial waters of Pakistan which is a key ally of China.

All this means China is going to be active all around both economically and militarily in the immediate neighborhood of India in a bid to encircle and enforce geopolitical choice on India which appears to be a new game plan of Chinese strategists.

China is planning to upgrade Gwadar Port in near future so that large warships can be accommodated without much hassle and connecting roads should be all weather proof to link them with Western Highway in Xinjiang-Tibetan Plateau.

The land and maritime silk route projects conceived by China and its so-called visionary leader Xi Jinping will remain the focus of Chinese military’s forward policy to venture into Indian Ocean.

A newly drafted strategic review paper has clearly said that India is a key threat to China and its Maritime Silk Route project could be targeted by India in case of hostility between the two nations.

Thus, the paper advocates, China should strengthen Gwadar port project with a fresh thrust so that India’s strategic depth in terms of China is obscure and vulnerable.

China is keen to finish various positions of India’s strategic depth in Bay of Bengal for that it had courted first Myanmar, later Bangladesh and finally Sri Lanka to get similar access, although Beijing failed to succeed fully.

In Sri Lanka , it had sent twice its nuclear powered submarines as a show of brazenness and a warning to India that Beijing can come too close to its back yard.

With the removal of Rajapakse Government in Sri Lanka, the Chinese got bumpy ride and their money power suffered a jolt.

Maldives had also figured in Chinese game plan quite early but China did not succeed due to poltical instability in the tiny islands nation.

But cash strapped Pakistan which is facing less and less aid from Saudi Arabia and US, has succumbed to Chinese plea and submitted before the money power of China.

Incidentally, it suits Pakistan if China is going to berth its submarines and warships on a more permanent basis then Pakistan can get a security guarantee from China against India.

Since China is already operating in the Indian Ocean region, it is wary of future Indian naval build up in the IoR which it feels at some future date India can challenge PLA Navy submarines.

Although top Indian Navy officers remain elusive about the Chinese intention, the naval commands are increasingly spotting Chinese activities in Indian Ocean and in the coast of Pakistan.

Few months ago, Type 093 Shang submarine, which had docked at the Karachi harbor, was possibly on a recee mission and used to scrutinize the movements of Indian warships far more closely than ever before at a time when China is competing with India for domination of the Indian Ocean.

But China never hides its intention about its relationship with Pakistan and future prospect of Gwadar Port use as a strategic gateway to Indian Ocean.

China has access to Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port, which is central to the $45 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that is under development and China feels it should now take advantage of this partnership for its military adventurism.

The Chinese game plan is to spread far north east of Indian Ocean up to Djibouti where China is constructing another military base so that PLAN will be able to control some stretch of Horn of Africa in conjunction of regional navies in the IoR.