Across the Taiwan Strait and across the South China Sea, Beijing may now be preparing for an increasing confrontation with the US in the Indian Ocean, and a senior Chinese analyst pointed to the inevitability of this event.
“It’s only a matter of time before a strike force of Chinese aircraft carriers shows up in the Indian Ocean,” said Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, a former PLA officer and Defense Ministry official and a senior fellow at Tsinghua University’s Center for International Security and Strategy.
At an online seminar organized by King’s College London and the Center for Policy Research, an Indian think tank, late last month, Zhou said Beijing must protect its growing interests in the Indian Ocean as the US aims to curb Chinese influence.
The international order will be “chaotic and multipolar” in the foreseeable future, Zhou said, which could lead to another Cold War. In Europe, uncertainty reigned due to the Russo-Ukrainian war, while in Asia, the US Indo-Pacific strategy is clearly aimed at containing China.
Given the US strategy, “China does not have high hopes that China-US relations will improve drastically,” the expert said.
“In order to safeguard China’s growing interests in the Indian Ocean and maintain the security of strategic sea lanes, the Chinese Navy must maintain or even increase its presence in the Indian Ocean,” he stressed.
With growing economic interest in the region, experts believe that a Chinese naval combat group led by an aircraft carrier and potentially totaling six to eight ships, including a submarine, could soon invade the Indian Ocean.
The assessment is that the task force could cross the Straits of Malacca and call at ports in the Andaman Sea in Myanmar, the Bay of Bengal in Chittagong in Bangladesh and Hambantota in Sri Lanka before heading to ports in Gwadar or Karachi in Pakistan. Iran and probably even the Chinese naval base in East Africa.
Meanwhile, for the US, which has a military base in Diego Garcia, the Indian Ocean has been a base for its military operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, and a transit route for forces between Japan and the Middle East.
However, since the end of the Cold War and with no geopolitical competition in the region, Washington has resigned itself to France, Britain and India assuming the roles of key security providers in the Indian Ocean. India, on the other hand, increasingly regarded the Indian Ocean region as its strategic and economic zone.
However, given that the US has been driven by its own strategic goals, there is a lack of confidence in New Delhi. Although the US and India regularly conduct joint exercises; Last year, its security installation was in an uproar after the USS John Paul Jones conducted a “freedom of navigation” exercise near India’s Lakshadweep Islands “without India’s prior consent.”
With China now having access to strategic ports in the region, Beijing will directly challenge the US and Western allies, while also heavily influencing New Delhi’s security considerations, making it imperative to counter growing Chinese influence.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/only-matter-time-chinese-carrier-strike-groups-can-appear-indian-ocean-says-analyst-1839272?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution Chinese aircraft carrier strike groups may emerge in Indian Ocean, analyst says