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CHINA’S MARITIME SILK ROAD INITIATIVE: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE US STRATEGIC INTERESTS IN INDIAN OCEAN REGION
The oceans comprise the largest ecosystem on earth, contributing valuable assets for human survival and a common arena for sustainable development. As globalization and regional economic integration progress, oceans have become a foundation and bridge for market and technological cooperation and for information sharing. Developing the blue economy has become an international consensus, ushering in a new era of increased focus and dependence upon maritime cooperation and development. To meet with the prevailing trends of openness, cooperation and sustainable development, China launched Maritime Silk Road Initiative in 2013. This initiative has also economic, strategic and geopolitical reasons which are more vital than the former. This MSR is connecting South China Sea with the Indian Ocean and the east coast of Africa. In line with the priorities of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, China is deepening ocean cooperation by fostering closer ties with countries along the Road, supported by the coastal economic belt in China. Ocean cooperation isfocused on building the China-Indian Ocean-AfricaMediterranean Sea Blue Economic Passage, by linking the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, running westward from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, and connecting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM-EC). Efforts are also be made to jointly build the blue economic passage of China-Oceania-South Pacific, travelling southward from the South China Sea into the Pacific Ocean. Another blue economic passage is also envisioned leading up to Europe via the Arctic Ocean. Indian Ocean Region is the vital part of this MSR Initiative as most of its projects are in this region. The region is important for the Chinese interests as most of their trade pass through the sea lanes of IOR, even more than half the world trade passes through this region. The importance of this region was rightly explained by Robert D. Kaplan as he said, “Indian Ocean will be the centre of global politics in 21stcentury.”The increasing Chinese influence is posing serious challenges for the sole super power, the United States. The US, as an external power, has been a dominant in the Indian Ocean Region since World War II. The US perceives China’s plans as strategies to replace the US in the IOR, and theoretically these developments are explained under Power Transition Theory.
16th Edition Chicago