Beijing’s String of Pearls

Strategists have adopted necklace imagery to describe China’s efforts to strengthen its regional influence. Beijing is seeking to increase access to ports and airfields, intensify diplomatic relationships and project military and economic might, securing staging posts from the South China Sea and Indian Ocean to the Arabian Gulf.

  1. Tibet: Improved transport links between China and Tibet worry India, which fears the military reinforcement of the border. India is home to the Tibetan leadership in exile.
  2. Pakistan: US counter-insurgency presense has restricted China’s financial, military and nuclear support for Islamaad. Gwadar port, close to Iran, built with Chinese assistance.
  3. Nepal: China and India locked in a power struggle over Nepal, which New Delhi views as under its purview. The rise of Nepal’s Maoists has raised fears of closer military ties with Beijing.
  4. Sri Lanka: Chinese-supplied military hardware seen to have bolstered government victory over the rebel Tamil Tigers. Strategic port facilities developed by China.
  5. Bangladesh: Following elections last year, Dhaka now has an India-friendly government. But India still suspects insurgencies are launched from across the border.
  6. Burma: Beijing filled the economic and political void left by western isolation of the regime and is now building oil and gas pipelines. Long-standing rumours of secret Chinese ‘listening posts’ in the south of the country.
  7. Maldives and Mauritius: China has sought port access and bases in these countries.

Source: Financial Times

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