Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Qiao Heng (Translator) Page No. : 6
URL : http://www.jdqu.com/read-588172-6.html   

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Bangladesh this weekend. Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed 20 agreements and memorandums of understanding on issues as diverse as infrastructure, energy, health, and education. On the security front, one of the more interesting agreements to emerge from Modi’s trip so far has been a bilateral agreement that will grant Indian cargo vessels use of the China-backed Chittagong port and Mongla port in Bangladesh.

There is a popular perception in India of maritime strategic encirclement by China in the Indian Ocean.In India’s perception, China is establishing a network of civilian port facilities and underwriting Indian Ocean littoral infrastructure projects to boost the ability of its vessels to operate in and around waters that should rightly be under New Delhi’s domination. A decade ago, a Booz Allen Hamilton report used the metaphor of a “string of pearls” to describe this phenomenon and the term stuck, for better or worse. Since then, it’s become somewhat of an analytical trope for analysts studying maritime security in the context of India-China competition.

The port facility at Chittagong in Bangladesh has long been included on the list of China-backed ports in Beijing’s “string of pearls.”For Indian civilian vessels to have access to these ports is an important development, not least because it showcases growing trust between India and Bangladesh, but also because it may assuage Indian fears about the depth of China’s influence in Dhaka.

I’m not quite sure this agreement has precisely the “huge strategic implications” the Times of India notes, but it serves as a reminder of the extent to which Indian perceptions of a Chinese “string of pearls” are often overstated. The strategic implications would indeed be more severe if the present agreement had the effect of offending Beijing or distancing Bangladesh and China, but none of that seems to be true for the moment. For New Delhi, the concern seems to be shifting from port facilities underwritten by China to the People Liberation Army-Navy’s (PLAN) broader operations in the area. As China acknowledges by its own admission per its 2015 white paper, it is seeking a more global role for the PLAN. If anything, China’s base in Djibouti might be the closest thing to what Indian strategic thinkers envision when they hear about a “string of pearls.”

(Japanese The Diplomat website on June 7 ”India Plucks a Pearl from China’s‘String’ in Bangladesh?” by Ankit Panda)

 

印度摘掉珍珠链上的一颗珍珠?India Plucks a Pearl from the “String”?

来源:《环球时报》

时间:2015年6月9日

印度摘掉“珍珠链”上的一颗珍珠?

日本外交学者网站67日文章,原题:印度孟加拉国摘掉中国珍珠链上的一颗珍珠?  本周末,印度总理莫迪在孟加拉国访问。莫迪和孟加拉国总理哈西娜签署20项协议和谅解备忘录,涉及多个领域。其中安全领域的一个协议是允许印度货船使用中国支持建设的吉大港和蒙格拉港。

在印度有一种常见看法说,中国在印度洋对印度实施海上战略包围。在印度看来,中国正打造一连串民用港口,在印度洋周边地区修建基础设施,目的是提高船只在理当属于新德里领地的海域内外的行动能力。10年前,博思艾伦公司的一份报告以“珍珠链”为喻,描述这一现象,后来该说法一直沿用。分析人士研究印中竞争背景下的海上安全时,总免不了提及这个比喻。

长期以来,吉大港一直位于北京的“珍珠链”上。对印度来说,民船能停靠这些港口是一件重要的事情,不仅因为它显示印度与孟加拉国信任的增加,而且还因为这能缓和印度对中国在达卡影响力的担忧。

《印度时报》称,印度与孟加拉国的上述协议具有“巨大的战略意义”。对此,笔者不太确定。不过,它让人意识到,印度对中国“珍珠链”的看法往往是夸大的。如果该协议触怒北京,或者令孟加拉国与中国的关系疏远,那么其战略意义无疑更重大。但目前看来,没有这回事。新德里担心的似乎不应是中国支持的港口设施,而是解放军海军在该地区活动范围的扩大。中国在2015年白皮书中承认,谋求海军发挥全球作用。若真有印度战略家所想的“珍珠链”,最接近于此的或许也是中国在吉布提的基地。(作者安吉特·潘达,乔恒译)

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