Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chinese Navy’s Emerging Support Network in the Indian Ocean

By: Daniel Kostecka

The ongoing debate in China over whether or not to formalize logistical support agreements for Chinese naval forces in the Indian Ocean is a natural outgrowth of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) expanding presence in the region. As China continues to maintain a task group of warships off the Horn of Africa to conduct counter-piracy patrols, it is cultivating the commercial and diplomatic ties necessary to sustain its forces along these strategic sea-lanes. While Chinese government officialsand academics debate the underlying issues, a supply network of “places” is quietly taking shape [1]. Regardless of whether or not the PLAN develops its support network through a series of formal agreements that guarantee access, or continues to supply its forces as it has been, that network is developing and will in all likelihood continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

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