Chinese activities in Indian Ocean new threat: Book
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Despite China's interests in Arunachal Pradesh its growing military influence in the Indian Ocean could be the next flashpoint in rivalry between the two Asian giants, writes international journalist Bertil Lintner in his new book.
"It could be argued that a wider cold war is brewing in the Indian Ocean and, indirectly, China's links to the sea through Burma," Lintner, who specialises in Burmese foreign policies, says in the book "Great Game East" published by Harper Collins.
Although China has been laying claims over parts of Arunachal Pradesh, yet the book suggests that the Burmese naval base on the strategically located Coco Islands in the Indian Ocean is a matter of bigger concern for India because of strong Burma-China ties.
"Are the Chinese there, and if so, in what capacity? Is there a signals intelligence post on the island?," questions the author.
"And is it monitoring the movements of the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean or, even more menacing, India's test range for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles on its eastern coast, the Indian Space Research Organisation at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, and the Defence Research Organisation at Chandipur-on-sea in Orissa?"
Linter, who has not been allowed to enter Burma since 1985 due to his explosive reports on the Burmese military, claims that there is a radar station on Great Coco, although very rudimentary, and a new airstrip of military significance.
Not unmindful of the changing current in the waters of the Indian Ocean, India has also been keeping a watchful eye.
"Both the Burmese and the Chinese knew that India's military had upgraded its presence on the Andaman and Nicobar islands to meet the new challenges in the maritime region and to safeguard its interests in south-east Asia and the Malacca Strait," writes Lintner, who has authored a number of books on Burma.
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