Chinese Indian Ocean role limited

By David Brewster*

Among the many questions raised by the massive modernisation and expansion of China’s Navy in the last few years is its future role in the Indian Ocean. Will the Indian Ocean become a Chinese lake?

China has gone from essentially zero presence in the Indian Ocean around a decade ago to a fairly sizeable fleet averaging perhaps four to five surface vessels (plus submarine deployments), although this number fluctuates during crossovers between transiting vessels. China now operates a naval base in Djibouti and no doubt has plans for additional bases in the region.

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