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China holds first China-Indian Ocean Region Forum

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    3rd Dec, 2022

Context

The China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) held a meeting of the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation on November 21, 2022.

About

About the Meeting:

  • China holds its first meeting with 19 countries in Indian Ocean region excluding India.
  • Theme of the meeting: “Shared Development: Theory and Practice from the Perspective of the Blue Economy”.
  • Objective: The Chinese forum is aimed at countering India's strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA), which has a membership of 23 countries have taken strong roots.
  • Key Points discussed:
    • China has proposed to establish a marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism between China and countries in the Indian Ocean region.
    • China is ready to provide necessary financial, material, and technical support to countries in need.
    • It will also aim for strategic Indian Ocean region with substantial investments in ports and infrastructure in several countries, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

China’s trying to influence Indian Ocean region:

  • China has established a full-fledged naval base in Djibouti, its first outside the country.
  • It has also acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease.
  • Built the port at Pakistan’s Gwadar in the Arabian Sea opposite India’s western coast besides infrastructure investments in the Maldives.
  • China is a dialogue partner in the Indian Ocean Rim Association formed in 1997.

Importance of Indian Ocean for India:

  • Influence global Trade: The Indian Ocean region transports 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of daily global oil consumption.
  • Long Maritime Boundary: With a coastline of over 7,500 km, India has a natural interest in enhancing maritime security.
  • Securing Sea lanes of Communication: In the Indian Ocean, three major Sea Lanes Of Communication (SLOCS) play a crucial role in the energy security and economic prosperity:
  • Connectivity to the Asian Island Countries: SLOC connecting the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz (transporting the bulk of energy exports to major import destinations like India, ASEAN, and East Asia),
  • SLOC connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans through the Straits of Malacca (integral to the smooth flow of trade with ASEAN, East Asia, Russia’s Far East and the US).
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