Business News/ News / World/  China’s naval presence in Indian Ocean raises concerns for Indo-Pacific security

China's expansion of its naval power and the aggressive posture it has adopted in the Indo-Pacific region will be a significant topic of discussion at the upcoming G-7 and QUAD summits.

Chinese research and survey vessels are persisting in their ocean mapping operations around the 90-degree ridge region, following the disclosure of Mandarin names for 19 sea-bed features in the Indian Ocean. The aim is to prepare for future submarine incursions into the Indo-Pacific.

Chinese research vessels and strategic satellite tracking ships have been operating in the Indian Ocean region over the last 10 years. The vessels have been conducting ocean bed mapping, with the intention of creating an alternative sea route via Lombok, Ombai-Wetar straits of Indonesia to reach the eastern shores of Africa through the South Indian Ocean route. 

Chinese nuclear submarines can enter the Indian Ocean via these straits without giving up their position, which presents a potential security threat to democratic powers such as India, Australia and Japan.

Also Read: India’s Population Surpasses China’s, Shifting the World’s ‘Center of Gravity’

The Chinese research and survey vessel, Hai Yang Shi You 760, completed its four-month-long ocean bed mapping mission in the Indian Ocean and crossed the Malacca Straits on April 13. The vessel is currently located off the coast of Singapore and is en route to the Chinese port of Zhangjiang, having replenished its supplies at the Indonesian port of Balikpapan, according to the marine traffic website.

According to reports, the PLA Navy is now the biggest naval force on the planet in size and numbers, and China is expanding its global footprint through sea-power. There are concerns that Chinese carrier strike forces may start patrolling the Indo-Pacific by 2025.

China's engagement of island nations off the eastern coast of Africa by co-opting them in Belt Road Initiative and gifting off-shore patrol vessels in the name of maritime security is also noted. Nations on Africa’s eastern seaboard, including South Africa, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, are under the economic levers of Beijing, which adds to the concerns over maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.

Also Read: China’s Xi Jinping Seeks to Shake Trans-Atlantic Solidarity With Flurry of Diplomacy

The rising clout of China is attributed to President Xi Jinping's undisputed leadership of the Communist Party of China. The authoritarian Middle-Kingdom's expansion can only be countered by faster decision-making from democratic powers.

Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Updated: 19 Apr 2023, 11:23 AM IST
Recommended For You
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My Reads Watchlist Feedback Redeem a Gift Card Logout