Monday, April 9, 2012

China considers Seychelles military base plan

China is weighing up whether to open an Indian Ocean naval base in the Seychelles in a move which will heighten tensions with India amid fears of a regional arms race.

Beijing’s Defence Ministry confirmed it was considering an offer from the Seychelles government to establish a port to supply its anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.

But the move was met with concern in India as it announced it was increasing its military spending to strengthen its long border with China and check its growing strategic influence in the region.

New Delhi will spend more than £65 billion on arms in the next five years to strengthen its eastern and western defences against China and Pakistan. India is now the world’s largest weapons importer and Foreign Policy magazine recently described its military build up and one of the biggest ‘hidden’ stories of 2011.

India’s former intelligence chief Vikram Sood said he was surprised the Seychelles government, which has traditionally been close to India, had offered naval facilities to China, and said it would heighten Indian concerns over China’s growing influence. Read More