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Business News/ News / World/  China's new military base in Cambodia threatens India's maritime security - Here's why
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China's new military base in Cambodia threatens India's maritime security - Here's why

The Chinese naval base in Cambodia is close to the Strain of Malacca, a crucial point that links the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea

This handout from US commercial imagery company BlackSky Technology shows the site of a naval base under construction in Ream, Cambodia (AFP)Premium
This handout from US commercial imagery company BlackSky Technology shows the site of a naval base under construction in Ream, Cambodia (AFP)

As rising global power China is being assertive in every domain now and India is treading a sensitive path in dealing diplomatically with its neighbors who seems to be adamant about its expansionist policies. China's claim over the territories of the South China Sea is part of the same modus operandi and to solidify those claims, the country has built a new naval base in Cambodia, news platform NDTV reported on Saturday.

The Chinese naval base in Cambodia is close to the Strain of Malacca, a crucial point that links the Indian Ocean with the South China Sea.

The naval base comes four years after Wall Street Journal reported that China has reached an agreement with Cambodia’s Ream naval base for what is expected to be China's next overseas military base. As per UK-based think tank Chatham House, the “satellite images of the port reveal the dramatic transformation the Cambodian naval base, near Sihanoukville on the Gulf of Thailand, is undergoing. This Chinese-funded project would extend Beijing’s military reach into the contested waters of Southeast Asia."

This combination photo created on July 25, 2023 of handouts from US commercial imagery company BlackSky Technology Inc. released on July 24, 2023 shows the site of a naval base under construction in Ream, Cambodia on August 18, 2021 (top) and July 13, 2023
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This combination photo created on July 25, 2023 of handouts from US commercial imagery company BlackSky Technology Inc. released on July 24, 2023 shows the site of a naval base under construction in Ream, Cambodia on August 18, 2021 (top) and July 13, 2023 (AFP)

Over the course of the last year and a half, it has been reported that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has dedicated a significant land area of 157 hectares for the construction of air defense structures, general command facilities, and a naval radar installation in close proximity to the base, Chatham House report said.

Additionally, Cambodian state media has revealed future plans for the development of new storage facilities, a hospital, drydocks, and slipways at Ream.

“Hun Sen has been in power since 1998, but with US influence in Cambodia waning amid his increasingly autocratic tendencies, he has courted Beijing which has responded with investment and economic incentives, not least in Sihanoukville itself," the report by the think tank added. 

Strategic Encirclement for India

The development will be watched closely in New Delhi as China's aggressive actions in the South China Sea, including the construction of military facilities on disputed islands, may create a sense of strategic encirclement for India.

The South China Sea is rich in natural resources, including oil and gas reserves and fisheries. China's actions to claim large portions of the sea may trigger resource competition among neighboring countries, including India. Any instability or military conflict in the South China Sea could spill over into the Indian Ocean, affecting India's maritime security and trade routes.

India has been strengthening its ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region as part of its "Act East" policy. China's assertiveness in the South China Sea may prompt these countries to seek closer security cooperation with India to counterbalance China's influence.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devesh Kumar
I cover politics, geo-politics, economy, and technology and have keen interest in understanding and analyzing the complex issues that shape our world. I am committed to delivering well-researched, balanced, and thought-provoking stories that provides insights into the key trends and developments.
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Published: 05 Aug 2023, 05:52 PM IST
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