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Defense

Chinese Submarines Taste Indian Ocean

Flag of the Chinese Navy. Image: PhiLiP/Wikimedia

This article was originally published by the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) on 1 October 2014.

A Chinese military website, ostensibly sponsored by the People’s Liberation Army, quoting Sri Lanka media has reported that a Chinese Type 039 diesel-electric Song-class submarine along with Changxing Dao, a submarine support ship from the North Sea Fleet was sighted berthed alongside at the Colombo International Container Terminal. Although the pictures of the submarine and the support vessel together in the port have not been published either by the Sri Lankan or the Chinese media, it is believed that the submarine arrived in early September just before the Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit to Sri Lanka. The report also states that the submarine was on a routine deployment and had stopped over for replenishment. Further, a Chinese naval flotilla would call at a Sri Lankan port later in October and November.

Categories
Security History Conflict

1914 and 2014: Is Asia on the Verge of Repeating Europe’s Slide towards War?

Illustration of The Siberian War, courtesy of The Library of Congress /Wikimedia Commons

Martin Zapfe, what themes and subjects will be covered in this ‘series’ of publications and events?

We will cover a variety of issues on security in Asia – some that are at the center of public attention – like the re-militarization of Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – and some that often evade public scrutiny, like China’s maritime strategy in the Indian Ocean. Michael Haas and Prem Mahadevan will look at those two themes in-depth in two “CSS Analyses”. In addition, the Center for Security Studies’ (CSS) “Global Security Team” will look at war risks in Asia and determine whether often-applied analogies to “1914”are applicable to present-day Asia. If that really is the case, what does it tell us about possible policy responses? An additional CSS Policy Perspectives to be published later this month will explore this question in greater depth. Finally, we will host a CSS Evening Talk in early July, when the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) Christian LeMière will discuss how Switzerland could be affected from security risks emanating from Asia.

Categories
International Relations Security

Indian Ocean Regionalism – Picking up the Pattern of Connectivity

Photo: Lucentbyte/Wikimedia commons.

This is a cross-post from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute‘s blog The Strategist.

It’s fair to say that, despite the existence of initiatives and organisations such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Indian Ocean regional architecture is under-developed. This reflects a lack of shared interests relative to some other regions, including limited economic and strategic integration, great socio-economic disparities, and modest people-to-people links. Yet there’s benefit in seeking to address Indian Ocean transnational issues by regional means.

Categories
Security Defense Regional Stability

Australia Startled by Chinese Naval Excursion

HMAS Success
Photo: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons.

The Australian public is being reminded of Indonesia’s importance to the country’s foreign and defence policy—pastpresent and future.

Last Thursday, many Australian viewers switched their televisions over to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an attempt to escape from the media frenzy surrounding the release of Australian citizenSchapelle Corby from prison in Indonesia. They found the national broadcaster’s Lateline program reporting on another, far more significant story emanating from their near north.

On February 1, the Chinese navy (PLAN) sent a taskforce of three warships from Hainan in southern China through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, along the south coast of Java and past Christmas Island into the Indian Ocean. Two Chinese destroyers accompanied an advanced 20,000-ton amphibious ship, capable of carrying hundreds of marines, and conducted a series of combat simulations before heading north through the Lombok and Makassar Straits and into the Pacific.

Categories
International Relations Foreign policy Regional Stability

China’s Strategic Foothold in the Indian Ocean

Political Bureau member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Mr. Liu Yunshan with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President’s House. Source: Flickr, Sudath Silva

Since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in 2009, China has not only emerged as the main strategic actor in Sri Lanka, it has also replicated a familiar set of development and partnership strategies in the process. For instance, in 2012 Chinese companies completed the construction of a deep water port at Hambantola at an estimated cost of $450 million. More recently, the Sri Lankan Port authority announced a Chinese-backed $1.4 billion deal for the reclamation of 568 acres of land and construction of a new port near Colombo. Accordingly, China’s growing involvement in the Sri Lankan maritime sector is starting to bear all the hallmarks of its development of the Pakistani port of Qwadar. Currently managed by China Overseas Port Holdings, the port stands at the east entrance of the Straits of Hormuz and is set to be linked by road, rail and pipeline infrastructure to the resource-rich Chinese province of Xinjiang.

Like the Qwadar-Xinjiang Development Corridor project, China also views its growing interests in Sri Lanka as a geopolitical game changer. Chinese strategists have long feared that adversaries could close the Straits of Malacca in the event of conflict, thereby starving China of energy supplies and other strategic imports. In this respect, maritime facilities located on the island potentially allow Beijing to exert greater influence over the Straits. Yet, this has not gone unnoticed by South Asia’s traditional maritime and regional power India, which is also worried about the growing military partnership between China and Sri Lanka.