30 June 2008

China’s Naval Ambitions in the Indian Ocean

James R. Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, China’s Naval Ambitions in the Indian Ocean,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3 (June 2008), pp. 367-94.

This article argues that an increasingly sea-power-minded China will neither shelter passively in coastal waters, nor throw itself into competition with the United States in the Pacific Ocean. Rather, Beijing will direct its energies toward South and Southeast Asia, where supplies of oil, natural gas, and other commodities critical to China’s economic development must pass. There China will encounter an equally sea-power-minded India that enjoys marked geostrategic advantages. Beijing will likely content itself with ‘soft power’ diplomacy in these regions until it can settle the dispute with Taiwan, freeing up resources for maritime endeavors farther from China’s coasts. …