- According to people familiar with China's global goals, China increasingly sees the Indian Ocean as one of its most strategically important maritime interests
- The Comoros islands (Africa) were included on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's itinerary earlier this year, underscoring the elevated importance Beijing accords to the African states bordering the Indian Ocean.
China is expanding its defence cooperation and making incursions into the Western Indian Ocean Region, where India has historically had a significant presence. It is considering a military facility in Madagascar.
High-level meetings between Madagascar’s defence forces and China’s have been taking place, and ET has reliable information that Beijing may establish a military post there. Additionally, China offers the military of Madagascar more than 20 training spots.
Madagascar receives assistance from China in the form of money, military hardware, communication tools, and uniforms. In the past, Chinese ships have stopped on the island for upkeep. ET has also learned that China has donated two short-range patrol boats to Madagascar.
In 2021, China sent its first Defense Attaché to Madagascar. Madagascar’s army officers can take Chinese language classes. The local government recently presented the Defence Attache with an honour.
A significant island in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar is close to Seychelles and Mauritius, two countries with which New Delhi has close military ties.
China is beginning to look to Madagascar as a source for rare earth minerals. The sixth-largest rare earth reserves in the world are found in Madagascar. 2019 saw the signing of a deal by a division of the China Nonferrous Metal Mining Group (CNMC) that could see the Chinese company serve as a contractor on a rare earths project in Madagascar.
According to people familiar with China’s global goals, China increasingly sees the Indian Ocean as one of its most strategically important maritime interests, particularly with the opening of new trade routes through Pakistan and Myanmar that cut shipping time by weeks and lower China’s vulnerability to the Malacca Dilemma (Beijing’s concern that its shipments will be choked by foreign powers in the Malacca Straits).
The Comoros islands (Africa) were included on Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s itinerary earlier this year, underscoring the elevated importance Beijing accords to the African states bordering the Indian Ocean. Beijing has frequently requested India’s assistance as the area’s primary security provider.