NEW DELHI – Visiting India, a US Navy high commander calls the Chinese military presence in the Indo-Pacific region aggressive and expansionist. The region, which runs from the Indian subcontinent to the Pacific Ocean, is strategic to China.
US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral John Christopher Aquilino believes the Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific poses a threat to other countries in the region.
The official Chinese position reiterates that its presence in the area is necessary to secure its energy supply and strengthen its trade relations.
The region is generally defined as the area comprising the Indian Ocean, the East and Central Pacific and the seas that connect them to the Indonesian Maritime Zone.
The admiral claims that apparently it is very clear that the intention of the Chinese Navy is to operate in a very large area, including the Indian Ocean, saying he would not be surprised to see a Chinese aircraft carrier in the region soon, the admiral said after meeting with the chief of the Indian navy.
The admiral believes that the rapid modernization of the Chinese military is a threat to all nations that believe in freedom.
China defends its right to maintain a military presence in a strategic region near its mainland.
Chinese interests are at stake, for example, in the South China Sea , where territorial disputes involve not only the Asian giant, but also the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, among others.
China has major infrastructure development projects in the region: the Pearl Necklace and New Silk Road project .
The Pearl Necklace consists of building port infrastructure throughout Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent to drain Chinese production and avoid bottlenecks in sensitive regions such as the Malaysian Strait.
According to political scientist Udayan Das of the University of Calcutta, the set of ports around the Indian Ocean will probably make [China] a resident power. A resident power is one that, even without having territory, maintains a very significant presence in a region.
The Belt and Road Initiative is also intended to finance the construction of infrastructure outside China, both sea and land, to ensure the rapid flow of Chinese production.
Although the project foresees a strong presence in the Indo-Pacific region, its objectives were expanded during its six years of operation. The New Silk Road currently covers more than 125 countries and about 118 projects.