18th July, 2016 (MAINS)


Q1. What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this.
[10marks/2013/GS-2] 150 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Manjeet Sangwan

    The String of Pearls refers to the network of Chinese military and commercial facilities and relationship along its sea lines of communication, which extend from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan. The sea lines run through several major maritime choke points such as the
    Strait of Mandeb, the Strait of Malacca, the Strait of Hormuz and the Lombok Strait, as well as other strategic maritime centers in Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Somalia.

    The emergence of the String of Pearls is indicative of China’s growing geopolitical influence through concerted efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, expand and modernize military forces and foster stronger diplomatic relationships with trading partners.

    The popular controversy over the ‘String of Pearls’ is part of a broader concern in India about China’s role in southern Asia and the Indian Ocean region. Few Indian security analysts acknowledge China’s strategic vulnerabilities in the Indian Ocean as a legitimate cause for concern by Beijing; rather, many perceive China’s regional relationships as being directed against India: either as a plan of maritime
    “encirclement” or to keep India strategically off-balance in the region, just as China’s relationship with Pakistan has long kept India off-balance in South Asia.

    India has responded to China’s perceived presence in the Indian Ocean by trying to pre-empt China’s relationships in the region and by developing its own military capabilities near the maritime chokepoints, particularly the Malacca Strait. India has also tried to exert pressure on China to keep off its “patch” through reminders that it might develop its own presence in the South China Sea.