China Seeks To Establish Overseas Base To Project Military Power

A Pentagon report from last month said that China has the largest battle force of ships and submarines in the world. The report also said that Beijing is trying to build a strong overseas presence so that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) can project military power.

The Pentagon said in a report called “China’s Military Power Report 2022” that the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has the most ships of any navy in the world, with about 355 ships and submarines and more than 145 major surface combatants.

Defense analyst Prakash Pannerselvam wrote in The Diplomat magazine that the PLAN’s presence in the Indian Ocean has been steadily growing since 2009.

“When ships were being taken over by pirates and held for ransom in the Gulf of Aden, it messed up energy and trade routes around the world. China joined the international effort to police the area’s waters. Pannerselvam, an assistant professor at the International Strategic & Security Studies Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bengaluru, said that one of the main reasons the PLAN is still there is to protect their business dealings and maritime trade.

He adds that Chinese submarines have been in the Indian Ocean since 2013. They say they are there to stop piracy.

The US report says that most of the PLAN is made up of modern platforms that can do more than one thing. In the near future, the PLAN will be able to use land-attack cruise missiles on its submarines and surface combatants to hit land targets from a long distance. This will improve the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ability to project power around the world.

According to a report from the Pentagon, the PRC is improving its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) skills and abilities to protect the aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines of the PLAN.

The report said, “As the PRC’s overseas interests have grown over the past 20 years, Party leaders have been pushing the PLA to think about how it will develop the capabilities to operate beyond China’s borders and its immediate periphery to advance and defend these interests.”

The US Defense Department said that this has made the PRC more willing to use military coercion and incentives to advance its global security and development interests.

It says that the PRC wants to “establish a stronger overseas logistics and basing infrastructure so that the PLA can project and keep up military power over a wider area.”

The Pentagon says that the PRC is looking for more military facilities outside of its base in Djibouti to support power projection in the sea, the air, the ground, cyberspace, and space.

“The PRC probably thought about putting PLA facilities in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan,” the US report said.

As the PRC’s global military goals change, a global PLA military logistics network and PLA military facilities could both get in the way of U.S. military operations and help offensive operations against the U.S., the report says.

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