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Stakes in Seychelles

Stakes in Seychelles
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First Published: Wed, Jan 31 2007. 11 01 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jan 31 2007. 11 01 PM IST
One of the destinations that Chinese President Hu Jintao will head for, during his current eight-nation African tour, is the Indian Ocean island state of Seychelles. This new cordiality between China and Seychelles (the Hu visit is the first by a Chinese leader of his rank) is intriguing. It can be regarded as of a piece with the larger Chinese project of wooing Africa in order to secure its mineral supplies...Specifically, it could be inspired by the fact that a small percentage of citizens of the island nation are of Chinese stock, and...trading links between the two countries...have grown over the years.. But Hu Jintao’s visit to Victoria next week appears to signify a larger intent, given Seychelles’ strategic location in the Indian Ocean. An estimated half of the globe’s containerized freight and at least two-thirds of its oil shipments navigate on these waters. China already has a presence in the region, having built the Gwadar port in Pakistan. All these factors imbue the Chinese visitation with a significance that India can ignore only at the cost of its larger strategic objectives, both in economic and military terms.Most of India’s trade is by sea and ensuring the security of its vital sea lanes is a paramount objective. India can learn... from the display of Chinese activism in the region.
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First Published: Wed, Jan 31 2007. 11 01 PM IST
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