The Growth of China's Navy: Implications for Indian Ocean Security

Andrew S. Erickson is Assistant Professor at the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), Strategic Research Department, US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.
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  • July 2008

    The PLA Navy (PLAN)'s capabilities in key areas (assets, trained personnel, experience) are currently insufficient to support long-range sea lanes of communication (SLOC) defense missions. With sufficient effort, Beijing may eventually overcome these obstacles, but it would probably also have to acquire some form of overseas basing access, which its foreign policy still proscribes. As it works to bridge this gap, China will use 'soft power' diplomacy, trade, humanitarian assistance, and arms sales to increase its influence in the region, thereby preserving the possibility of cooperation with major regional and international actors.
    *The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone. They do not represent the estimates or policies of the US Navy or any other element of the US Government. The author is indebted to William Murray for his meticulous reviews of several earlier versions.