Chinese Military Presence Gaining Strength Surrounding India 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu pictured in Beijing in China on 10 January 2024. Image: Reuters.

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 14 March: A Chinese military delegation recently visited the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal to discuss further cooperation in defence issues, China’s Ministry of National Defence reported yesterday on its website.

The visit of the Chinese military delegation to these South Asian countries from 4-13 March occurs against the backdrop of Beijing’s escalating efforts to gain the upper hand over its strategic rival India, according to several reports online. In particular, following Maldives President Mohamed Mizzu’s order to withdraw all Indian military personnel from the archipelago, the Maldives government on 4 March announced the signing of a ‘military deal’ with Beijing.

During the visit to all three countries surrounding India, “they exchanged views on military relations and regional security issues of common concern”, the Chinese military said in a statement on its official WeChat account, The Hindu reported on Wednesday. 

The delegation of officials from the Chinese military’s international military cooperation department focused on “in-depth consultations on promoting bilateral defence cooperation”.

“A series of consensus was reached to further enriched defence cooperation between the PLA and the relevant countries,” it added, referring to the Chinese military by its official acronym, says the report. 

In the past several years, India has faced land incursions from China along the vaguely demarcated border between the two Asian giants, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), particularly in the Western sector of the LAC. With the CCP enclosing India, New Delhi has responded with increased military development and strength along its border. Therefore, China’s apparent growing presence in the Indian Ocean and strengthening influence in these strategically important countries are a huge concern to New Delhi.

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