Washington/Beijing: A report from the US Department of Defence has revealed that to fulfil its ambitions of expansionism, the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to get a foothold in different parts of the world. The Pentagon report states that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is trying to build military bases in 12 nations including Pakistan’s Gwadar, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Angola and Tajikistan. The US has walrned that China was secretly employing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for constructing the bases. A few months ago, US Scholar H I Sutton had claimed that China was building the most extensive naval base in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port.
US Department of Defence has recently published a report titled – Military and Security Development Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020. The information was submitted to the US Congress and mentioned the progress, plans and ambitions of China in the area of defence in the last 20 years. In 2017, China operationalized its first foreign military base located in Djibouti, Africa. After that, China accelerated its plans for building military bases in Asia as well as in African and Latin American nations. In the last three years, the Chinese PLA has nearly completed the construction of military bases in Pakistan’s Gwadar, Namibia in the African continent and Latin America’s Argentina. The Pentagon report states that these bases are operational in the form of tracking, telemetry and command (TTC) stations.
Apart from that, China is also trying to build bases in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, UAE, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola and Tajikistan. The Pentagon has warned that PLA is carrying out these activities under its plans for military logistics facilities. The report alleged China was using the BRI, which was initiated under the garb of trade and investments, to build the bases. Moreover, the US report has highlighted that the activities being carried out in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a part of the BRI, are a glaring example of it.
For the past few years, Indian analysts have warned of Chinese military activities ratcheting up in Gwadar. The analysts also warned of China developing its military bases in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well. However, China’s bid was foiled in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Therefore, the country appears to have focussed on Pakistan. In June, US scholar H I Sutton had released satellite images while reporting on the Chinese base at Gwadar. The photos showed construction of barracks for soldiers, high walls, security outposts, elevated guard towers and barbed fences.
After Djibouti and Pakistan, China’s attempts to secretly build military bases in Vanuatu Island in the Pacific and Asia’s Cambodia have been exposed. Moreover, the US has taken the lead for countering the Chinese activities wherein India, Australia, Japan and European nations are trying to form a strong alliance.