China’s recent establishment of a naval base in Cambodia, close to the Strait of Malacca, has raised concerns about its assertiveness in the South China Sea and its potential impact on India’s maritime security. However, former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash sees this move as part of China’s larger vision to achieve the “China Dream” of attaining Super Power status by 2047 or earlier.
In an interview with LiveMint, Admiral Arun Prakash stated that India should not be alarmed by this development in Cambodia. He emphasized that China’s focus on becoming a maritime power is part of its grand strategy for attaining global dominance. China has already made significant strides in this direction, boasting the world’s largest naval force, merchant navy, and coast guard, all supported by a robust shipbuilding industry.
According to Admiral Arun Prakash, India does not need to enter into a naval competition with China. India’s favorable geographical location already provides it with dominance over the entire Indian Ocean region. Instead of engaging in a naval race, India should focus on strengthening its navy and providing adequate support and resources to various components of its maritime power.
“The real struggle for the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region will take place in the maritime domain,” Admiral Arun Prakash asserted. He called for a sharper focus on India’s navy and the recognition of its capability to protect the country’s maritime interests.
While China’s efforts to assert its claims over the South China Sea and expand its influence in the region may have implications for India’s maritime security, Admiral Arun Prakash believes that India’s strategic advantages in the Indian Ocean provide it with a strong position in the Indo-Pacific. Instead of engaging in unnecessary competition, India should concentrate on consolidating its maritime power to effectively navigate the evolving geopolitical landscape.
As the world closely observes China’s pursuit of the “China Dream” and its implications for regional dynamics, India must proactively strengthen its maritime capabilities and deepen cooperation with like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific to safeguard its interests and contribute to a stable and secure maritime environment.