Model Question and Answers for APSC | What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this.
What do you understand by ‘The String of Pearls’? How does it impact India? Briefly outline the steps taken by India to counter this.
Ans: String of Pearls is a name for China's plan to set up a network in the area around India called the India Ocean Region (IOR). Each Pearl along a String represents a different kind of permanent Chinese military installation. People see the recent building of ports around India, such as in Gwadar, Hambantota, Sittwe on the Bay of Bengal Coast in Myanmar, etc., as a string of pearls. Even though these are commercial ports, there is a fear that they could easily be turned into naval bases if there is a war in India.
- Strategically, this will mean that China will surround India with a string of China will be able to control the Indian Ocean because it has no openings. India will lose some of the strategic power it has in the Indian Ocean right now. Countries that think of India as a partner right now because of China may end up in China's arms.
- The Indian government will spend more money on defense and security, which will hurt the economy. So, the economy won't be able to reach its full potential, which slows down economic growth. This could make India and the whole east and south east area even less stable.
- Security at sea: China's presence will put India's security at risk on the China is getting better at making weapons by making more submarines, destroyers, ships, and vessels. This puts India's maritime security at risk.
India's steps to counter the "string of pearls":
- India's Act East Policy, which was started to connect India's economy with those of other countries in SouthEast Asia. It has been used to make important military and strategic agreements with Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, which has helped India fight China.
- India and Myanmar have a strategic naval relationship that helps Myanmar improve and train its This gives India a bigger presence in the area. India has also made plans with Japan, Australia, and the US to work together on military issues in the area. The four countries do military drills together in the IOR area. They are known as the "Quad."
- India is building Chabahar port in Iran, which will give Central Asian countries a new way to get to the sea without going through India is in a good position because Chhabahar looks out over the Gulf of Oman, which is a very important oil supply route.
- India and France just signed a deal that lets warships from the other country use their naval bases in the Indian Ocean. It gives the Indian navy access to strategically important French ports, such as one in Djibouti, where China has its only military base outside of Asia.
- India has put a lot of diplomatic work into countries like Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, which are all to the north of China.
- India finished an agreement for a new base in the Seychelles and negotiated military access to naval facilities at Oman's port and In 2017, a deal was made with Singapore that lets each country use the other's naval bases for deployments. India is raising the stakes in the fight over the waters of Southeast Asia by building bigger bases on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at the end of the Malacca Strait.
It's important to note that many of the solutions won't work right away and may take at least 2–3 decades. To change the status quo, people at the highest levels need to be able to make good decisions. Making India a strong leader in the Indian Ocean will depend on how well the planned strategic initiatives are carried out.