China’s String of Pearls

A geopolitical theory on the potential intentions of China in the Indian Ocean Region is called as the String of Pearls. It refers to the network of Chinese commercial facilities, military facilities and relationships along sea lines of communication of China. It extends to the Sudan Port starting from the Chinese mainland. The sea lines pass through many major maritime choke points like the Lombok Strait, the Strait of Hormuz, the Malacca Strait and the Strait of Mandeb besides maritime centers of strategic importance Somalia, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. “China’s string of pearls” was referred to as a geopolitical concept for the first time in an internal report published by the Department of Defence of the United States of America. It is also worth noting that though the term has been used in the Indian media, several times now, there is no mention of it in any official government sources of China. This indicates China’s expanding geopolitical influence through concerted efforts to increase access to airfields and ports, modernize and expand the military forces, and promote better and stronger diplomatic relationships with the trading partners.

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