India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China


Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

India is preparing to construct a significant overseas military base on an island in Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.

India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China

Last month, Seychelles and India signed a twenty-year agreement, permitting the Indian military to build an airbase and naval installations on Assumption Island, a small island in the Outer Islands of Seychelles north of Madagascar, said Seychelles News Agency.

“This [agreement] reinforces our commitment to not only further deepen India-Seychelles relations, but to also take our partnership to another level,” Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said in a statement.

“The [mutual] co-operation is exemplified by the operationalization of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System [CSRS] in March 2016, and our commitment to augment the defense assets and capability of Seychelles,” he added.

The agreement enhances India’s military capabilities and maritime surveillance of Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.37 million square km. Assumption Island will serve as a strategic staging area for the Indian military, as the island chain resides between crucial global shipping lanes.

India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China

This is key as in 2016 alone, “approximately 40 million barrels of oil per day — equivalent to just under half of the world’s total oil supply — traveled through Indian Ocean entry and exit points, including the Straits of Hormuz, Malacca, and Bab el-Mandeb,” said CNN.

The EIA classifies the region as a significant chokepoint for maritime transit of oil. More specifically, the EIA calculates roughly 5.8 million barrels per day travels directly by Seychelles, which then ultimately flows to the West. This would indicate India does not just recognize Seychelles as a critical part of its global energy security, but perhaps, India’s push to control the island is a proxy of Washington.

India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China

All estimates in million barrels per day. Includes crude oil and petroleum liquids. Based on 2016 data. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

India has already provided Seychelles with military aircraft, helicopters, and naval boats. It has installed a coastal surveillance radar system on one of Seychelles’ islands to conduct intelligence gathering activities. Throughout the years, the waters around Seychelles have seen an abundance of Indian warships conducting anti-piracy patrols

Senior Indian naval officials have stated that the development of military installations on Seychelles is to offset China’s maritime Silk Road strategy in the Indian Ocean.

As CNN notes, India is attempting to better posture itself in the Indian Ocean despite its neighbor and long-standing rival China, who is already situated with military installations in the region.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, China’s naval reach has grown considerably, expanding far beyond its immediate coastline into areas not previously considered within its sphere of influence.

In July last year China established its first overseas military base in Djibouti, near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, among the world’s busiest shipping lanes and one of three crucial Indian Ocean arteries.

The strait, which is only 29 kilometers (18 miles) wide at its narrowest point, connects the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal, and the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean beyond.

The opening of the Djibouti base was followed several months later by the country’s controversial acquisition of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, just 22.2 kilometers (13.8 miles) by some estimates from the primary Indian Ocean sea lane that links the Malacca Straits to the Suez Canal.

Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Sydney, described the Hambantota deal — which saw Sri Lanka grant China a 99-year lease on the port to service some of the billions in debt it owes to Beijing — as part of a “determined strategy by China to extend its influence across the Indian Ocean at the expense of India.”

“That port then gives them not only a strategic access point into India’s sphere of influence through which China can deploy its naval forces, but it also gives China an advantageous position to export its goods into India’s economic sphere, so it’s achieved a number of strategic aims in that regard,” said Davis.

Indian military officials said Seychelles and Assumption Island are a powerful combination in extending the reach of India’s naval operations, which it intends to rotate aircraft and ships throughout the region.

India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China

“The development is a clear indicator that India’s geostrategic frontier is expanding in tandem with China’s growing strategic footprint in the Indo-Pacific,” Captain Gurpreet Khurana, of the Indian Navy’s National Maritime Foundation, said.

As India fears encirclement by militarist China in the Indian ocean, it only leaves us to believe that these nuclear-armed neighbors could be headed for another military conflict. The last time this occurred it was the war of 1962, which India is making the needed preparations on Seychelles’ chain of islands that will ensure another defeat is not an option.



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  • Rodger

    Is this a blast from the past? The Indian base has been there since 1990.
    “Indian Navy Assumption base
    IATA: none ICAO: FSAS
    Airport type Indian Navy base
    Owner India
    Operator India
    Location Assumption Island, India
    Built 1989–1990; Major extensions 2015–2016
    In use 1990–present”

    • Graeme Rymill

      “The infrastructure that India has to build includes renovating the
      airstrip, upgrading the jetty and constructing quarters for the
      Seychelles Coast Guard.”

      The current runway is 3963 × 75 ft (1208 × 23 m) – not long enough for Indian’s P-8I anti-submarine and surveillance aircraft. Does “renovating the airstrip” include lengthening the runway I wonder?

      • Rodger

        The runway runs over the island from beach to beach (you can see it in the pic) so I doubt it. But they might build out into the sea.

    • Ger

      Paid for with secret US military dollars? The $700,000,000,0000 ‘official’ US military ‘budget’ is a show to keep the sheep grazing…..while blowing up the world.

      • Rodger

        The bloated US armed forces is the millstone that will drag the US economy down and drown it as it has so many empires before.

  • Ma_Laoshi

    I remember the triumphalism when Pakistan and India were simultaneously admitted into the SCO. Under RF+CN leadership, Asia was getting sorted out, it was alleged. The time since then has been a stark reminder that the other side has a vote too: all the old fissures are still open, BRICS as a cohesive unit exists mainly on paper, and even Russia and China themselves don’t cooperate as well as they should in the light of what they’re facing. Do NOT underestimate the Empire.

    • velociraptor

      Brics exists only in mind of journalists and fantasts.

      China-india, fire-waer. chinas hates russia, south africa is less then zero, brasil is nothing.

      • Leonardo Russo

        As a Brazilian I unfortunately agree with you

        • velociraptor

          I am not happy, what is running in Brasila. Your country was my favourite during child- and younghood. I am very sad, that your jump failed. :(

      • Joe

        Which grandfather told you China hates Russia? Their rivalry has long past and now are greatest of friends to counter your country.

        Their relationship are made in heaven needing each other.

        • velociraptor

          I tell.

    • EoF

      Well, it’s only normal for a country to try to defend it’s interests. Being part of the SCO and BRICS doesn’t automatically mean they have to completely submit themselves to China. Not to mention that the base has been there since 1990 anyway, as Rodger wrote.

      • Ma_Laoshi

        Agreed, the base itself is no problem, and I don’t advocate India (or anyone else) prostrating themselves before Beijing. But India joining the US-AUS-JP anti-OBOR coalition may be overdoing it in the other direction. Seen in the latter context, this announcement suggests that India and China continue to drift apart due to their mutual distrust. Not even saying whose side is to blame; the Chinese haven’t exactly been boy scouts in the South China sea, apparently seeing only the small/poor adjacent countries and not the bigger picture. But only the hegemon will profit from this.

        • EoF

          “But only the hegemon will profit from this.”
          Maybe. But you know who won’t be profiting from this? India. China can easily rewrite obor to not include india if they want.

        • Sinbad2

          India is just fleecing the Americans.
          The US is desperate for an ally in Asia, and India will take American money whilst it can, and use it to enhance its position within SCO.

  • Joe

    India as any country had the tight to ensure her own security.

    Anyway it is better to work closely with China weather than be confrontational.

    China’s potential enemy is the US not India .

    China’s naval power can easily handle the Indian naval force .

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