China's 'String of Pearls' in the Indian Ocean and Its Security Implications

Cdr Gurpreet S. Khurana was Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • January 2008

    China's efforts to build 'nodes' of influence in the Indian Ocean Region have been increasingly discernible in recent years. This endeavour, many argue, is driven by Beijing's military-strategic ends. However, such an argument remains a speculation, backed by frail and somewhat disjointed evidence. At least in the public domain, it may be too early to marshal tangible evidence to prove or dismiss the hypothesis. An assessment is nonetheless crucial because notwithstanding China's legitimate interests in the Indian Ocean, its naval presence in these waters would bear strongly upon the security calculi of India in particular and those of other major powers. From the study of available information, this paper attempts to derive China's objectives in the Indian Ocean, its approach and the attendant security ramifications for India.