Hindustan Times reported on October 30 that the US Pacific Fleet chief Admiral John Aquilino publicly hyped up the threat of China’s military buildup when visiting New Delhi a few days ago. He told the reporters confidently that China builds military vessels at the highest speed in the world and has created a full-fledged military base in Djibouti, which reflects its intention of expanding the scope of its military operations. “Chinese deployment of aircraft carrier battle groups in the region is a distinct possibility in the near future”. Trying to intimidate the Indians with the “threat of Chinese aircraft carriers”, the US naval admiral aimed to sow discord between China and India and find an excuse to work with India to contain China.
As one of the world’s most important trade and energy routes, the Indian Ocean commands an extremely important strategic position and has been considered a“sphere of influence” by India, which is vigilant about other forces entering the region. But in fact, just like the Japan Sea doesn’t belong to Japan, the Indian Ocean doesn’t belong to India either. Most of the sea areas of the ocean are international waters, and it is completely reasonable and legal for Chinese aircraft carriers, military vessels and submarines to sail on it as long as they are innocent passages. The US needs not worry itself about this, nor should India be over-sensitive.
As the PLA Navy has been going into the far ocean in recent years, India has been paying close attention to our normal military operations in the Indian Ocean. In September, Indian Navy assigned the American-made P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft to track and monitor seven Chinese warships after detecting them on the Indian Ocean and surrounding wasters. It was learnt that the seven Chinese warships included a 27,000-ton amphibious landing vessel and six escort vessels conducting anti-piracy tasks in the Gulf of Aden.
Yang Zhen, a maritime right expert at Shanghai-based Fudan University, described Aquilino’s remarks as a vicious hype-up of the “threat of Chinese aircraft carriers” in order to add fuel to India’s anxieties and drive a wedge between New Delhi and Beijing. If India wants to dominate the Indian Ocean, the real challenge doesn’t come from a peace-loving China, but from the aggressive United States.
After Trump came in office, Washington has spared no efforts in promoting the “Indo-Pacific strategy” that speaks volumes of its ambition for the Indian Ocean. Moreover, US aircraft carriers often appear on the ocean and the US military has a massive and well-developed military base on the Diego Garcia island in the center of the ocean, where strategic nuclear bombers can take off and land with its deterrence enough to the cover the entire Ocean. Without mincing words, American troops that demonstrate hegemony worldwide are the biggest threat to the peace and security in the Indian Ocean region, and Pentagon is exercising double standards in exaggerating the threat of Chinese aircraft carriers.
Of course, New Delhi will make its own judgment. Friction between China and India will only benefit the third party, so it’s important for both to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation. Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said on October 31 that “dragon and elephant dancing together” is a good choice to advance China-India relations.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang asked the US military officers to reflect on themselves before making false conjectures and accusations about China.