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China Is Not Alone in Adding to the Indian Ocean Woes

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The navalists of the world are ­smiling. The maritime domain is back in the reckoning. A new era of great power competition at sea has arrived. Existing, emerging, erstwhile, and aspiring empires are engaged in ocean-romance in the Asia–Pacific theatre. American carrier battle groups are making frequent forays into the region and struggling to fulfil the promise of “pivot to Asia.” China recently held its biggest naval combat drill in the South China Sea. The rise of the Chinese navy is manna for the American navalists who are constantly in search of a ­raison d’être to justify their massive budget of roughly $145 billion.

Naval enthusiasts from the West and their former colonies are also basking in the Chinese naval glory, asking their governments to give more for maritime domain awareness (MDA) to meet China’s increasingly assertive designs in sea lanes. The dormant overseas territories held by France in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific have suddenly come alive. The Royal Navy has woken up from its imperial grave to open its new military base in Bahrain. This is the first permanent British base east of the Suez Canal in more than four decades. They had handed over the HMS Juffair base in Bahrain (established in 1935) to the Americans in 1971. The United States (US) is bringing back Britain to Bahrain because it can no longer sustain its imperial possession alone. It wants to incorporate other navies in its scheme of things to ensure the sustainability of its “command of the commons.”

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Updated On : 2nd May, 2018

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