chapter  8
23 Pages

China turns to the Indian Ocean

As the foregoing chapters have shown, China forms part of the strategic context for India’s own maritime rise, appearing repeatedly in Indian commentary and official statements. Indian strategic discourse has a strongly maritime flair to it. Consider some representative commentary by Adm. Arun Prakash, a recently retired chief of naval staff, on New Delhi’s 2007 Maritime Military Strategy. Adm. Prakash pays lip service to the capacity of the United States to shape events in the Indian Ocean, “by virtue of her large and ubiquitous maritime presence” in the region. But he seems to look on the US presence with equanimity – this despite the fact that Washington possesses the wherewithal, measured in ships, aircraft, and submarines, to control India’s environs. By contrast, China, which as yet possesses no such capability, “looms menacingly over the IOR [Indian Ocean region] as a rapidly emerging entity with her sights set firmly on super-power status.”1