Friday, April 01, 2005

INDIA: Natwar Singh is about to commit the mother of all blunders

China, or rather the PLA-Navy, has declared Pakistan out of bounds from the Gwadar areas passing under its control. The intelligence is that China will deploy nuclear submarines from Russia or in the interim diesel-electric submarines from Germany, and while diplomats said the US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice, warned Pakistan against this during her visit, it is not clear if the Chinese are standing down. In addition to attack submarines, the Chinese are planning a major listening post in Gwadar, both to monitor US activity in the Persian Gulf, and to track the shipping in the Indian Ocean. For a distance of seventy kilometers from Gwadar into the Arabian Sea, China and Pakistan are reserving a right to board ships for searches, and while this will hit Western/ US interests in the Indian Ocean, India’s projected role to protect the sealanes of communication upto the Malacca Straits has also been undermined. Indeed, it is possible that a Chinese listening post is already operational in Gwadar, and it presents an encirclement crisis for India linked together with Chinese surveillance facilities in Myanmar and Bangladesh.........More