China’s ‘Maritime Bases’ in the IOR: A Chronicle of Dominance Foretold

Cdr Abhijit Singh was Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
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  • May 2015

    After a successful visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Colombo in March, Indian policy elite are hopeful that the new Sri Lankan government will roll-back some of the geopolitical concessions made by the Rajapaksa regime to Beijing, thereby restoring India’s primacy in its near neighbourhood. India’s policy elite are hopeful that Maithripala Sirisena, the new president, will roll back some of the geopolitical concessions made by his predecessor to Beijing, thereby restoring Indian primacy in its near neighbourhood.

    New Delhi’s maritime analysts, however, remain a worried lot. Ever since a PLA-Navy (PLA-N) submarine docked twice in Colombo last year, Indian sea-power thinkers have been considering the prospect of a permanent Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean. Since November 2014, there have been strong rumours of a possible PLA-N base in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Media reports have indicated that Beijing was discussing a plan for multiple basing facilities in the Indian Ocean. An alarmed New Delhi even revived an old proposal for an Indian Ocean Zone of Peace—all in the hope that it would dissuade China from appropriating valuable space in its ‘strategic backyard’.