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Tsering asked: What are the possible strategic and military implications of deep sea mining by China in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)?

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  • S.S. Parmar replies: The strategic and military implications are enormous as they would permit a larger legitimate presence of the Chinese in the region. Economically, deep sea mining in the IOR would require a conduit for storage and transportation of the products mined as close to the mining area as possible. This would require setting up of infrastructure designed to cater for storage and transportation that could be established in a nation or nations close to the region. This infrastructure could be set up by China either as a bilateral or multilateral enterprise and could add to the strengthening of strategic ties between China and the concerned nations.

    Militarily, China would be in a legitimate position to increase its military presence specifically naval for ensuring security of the area from a variety of existing threats like terrorism and piracy. In order to sustain a military presence, it would have to rely on ports in friendly nations for re-supply and refueling purposes. This offers the chance of increased military-to-military cooperation with nations in the area. Overall, the implications of deep sea mining in the IOR could accord China the opportunity to increase its foot print in the region.