This is an IDF Analysis with political masturbation of the “Great (Maritime) Game”, that China appears to have succeeded for the time being, the first nation in history to win the ‘Great Game’, which was Britain’s game to stop France and Czar’s Russia gain access to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean in the earlier centuries, to threaten it. In 1980’s US with Pakistani Generals and Mujahedeens sent Russia packing back from Afghanistan. China began planning the Great Game and grew.

Taliban with ISI of Pakistan ruled Afghanistan and India supported Northern Alliance (NA) against Taliban, which was smashed a day before 9/11 when the Lion of Panjsheer Ahmed Shah Masood was assassinated. USA military entered the Al Qaeda Afghan den and got trapped as Pakistan double crossed USA and took doles and weaponry ! USA also spent billions to bring democracy to Islamic nations, and de-stabilized Middle East. China’s ambitious game plan was quietly at work and announced MSR, OBOR and CEPC. India felt threatened but did nothing.

On 13th Nov, 2016 China’s Overseas Port Holding brazenly took over Pakistan’ s Gwadar port with risks and costs, with Pakistan Navy’s 3rd Marine Battalion and a joint Naval Task Force. With China’s maritime base in Djoubiti and PLA(N)’s three permanent warship task force off Aden, China has a Indian Ocean Navy. Containment of India with a “Pearl Necklace and WEIQI(go)” to surround India which Indian diplomats mocked has come about. China’s mouth piece Global Times questioned India’s authority to be the ‘Net Security Provider in the IOR’. The maritime gloves of India and China were out.

CNS Adm Sunil Lanba was alerted and warned China not to base ships in the Arabian Sea and de-stabilize the region and winged to Japan. Russia said would seek warm water connection from CAR to Gwadar. Obama after a Joint Strategic Vision for Asia Pacific with PM Modi rushed the ‘Major Defence Partnership (MDP)’ with India through Congress though watered down by Congressmen , fearing Trump may demand India to be an ally, which India would not do. Ashton Carter had got terms agreed by meeting NSA AK Doval , RM and PM on his farewell visit on 8th November, NSA rushed to USA to meet Gens Mattis and Flynn who are Trump’s security nominees, both known to Pakistan military. Trump has not named a Navy man yet. CNS Adm Lanba unlike past six US trained naval Chiefs (one in USA teaching IOR strategy), is UK(RCDS) trained, will discuss security co-operation and advanced ex MALABAR given in USA’s partnership with Technology transfers.


On 15th Aug PM Modi’s pledged to take back POK (PIOK) and free Baluchistan. President Xi Jinping spurted China’s plans for MSR, OBOR, CPEC which Xi wanted India to join/accept. Jinping did it to trump India’s plans for Chahbahar in Iran, which will take time and worried that the Geo-strategic situation may change as Trump talks to Taiwan. The question; Is China worried Trump would take China on as world economy flounders for China ?

Iran’s revival is thanks to USA’s indulgence but may change if Trump sticks by his charade, that he will review the Obama/ European lifting of sanctions. Iran has made provocative nuclear statements as its oil revenue has risen, many frozen assets are back, exports have begun with long term contracts and Iran is playing games in Afghanistan with Russia, China and Taliban. Retired Ex Cdr Jadav working legally in Iran seems to have been compromised to Pakistan and Iran is making no statement to protect him.

Russia and China are talking to Pakistan which is allowing Taliban havens in Pakistan and Baluchistan which has Iranian Baluchis , Sindhi speaking Baluchis in Gwadar, Pashtun Pathan interests in Quetta with Shia-Sunni wars. This challenges USA’s forces in Afghanistan and the NATO training forces who are trying to make the 300,000 strong Afghan National Defence Army and Air Force self reliant and reduce narcotics in the next two years before they exit.

Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction and US Forces, Gen Nicholson in a report to Congress wrote the Taliban controls more territory in the country than at any point in 2001 after the U.S. invasion, while AP, citing internal NATO data, reported that fatalities of Afghan forces increased by 28 percent last year.

India’s neighbourhood is now infested with challenges and the waters of Arabian Sea muddied. Now Bay of Bengal will follow.

The Bay will soon be home to Bangla Desh Navy’s two Ming 035 fifteen year old submarines BNS Nabajatra and Joyjatra (see photo) with Yu-3 torpedoes, and French DUUX-5 sonars to track Indian Navy ships and vice versa. The submarines are on passage on China Ocean Shipping Company’s submersibles (COSCO), which has 56mill tons shipping that dwarf’s India’s with modern logistics, ship building/repairing that was looked after agents of WSC USA in Kolkata. IDF headed WSC in New Delhi till 2004 and witnessed COSCO’s rapid growth carrying Indian cargo. COSCO containers are world over.

Chinese will soon construct the BDN Submarine base at Kutbudia like they will build for 036 Qing 8 submarines for Pakistan Navy at Ormara’s PNS Jinnah. These are defining happenings for maritime India which has still to be appreciated by India’s land lubbers. Nehru’s warnings in the past to have sea power, were not heeded.
Russia and Iran have made amazing gains in Syria to squash the rebel force (Alleppo retaken after 4 years), that USA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia set up to remove Assad. Kurds are also being armed and helped by Iran and Iraq to make trouble for Erdogan in Turkey.

All these issues are interconnected with a big picture for India to hoist. EAM is recuperating and demonetization and UP elections loom as the bigger challenges for the Government. NSA AK Doval winged to USA and discuss more advanced Exercise Malabars, co—operation and technology transfer.

China has progressed the Karakorum Highway through India’s Kashmir and Baluchistan to gain warm water access to the Arabian Sea with a $ 46 bill bait with CPEC to Pakistan. It is China’s WEIQI (GO)/Pearl Necklace security stratagem; but Indian analysts kept ‘po- phoing’ China’s attempt to contain India’s aspirations and shout CPEC is not economically viable, unaware money is not the consideration for a national security strategy like CPEC, MSR and OROB. Infrastructure always pays off in the long run.

The port of Ormara is the next stop where Chinese are assisting Pakistan Navy to build their submarine base, to home port PLA(N) supplied eight Qing 036 submarines which are also designed to carry nuclear missiles in a hump.
Finally Geo-Eco -Strategy that China employed needs study. If China’s large $ 11 trillion economy grows moderately at 6.5 % as predicted it will accrete 30% of India’s GNP per year. At this rate China can well consolidate its clout in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) with military power with a $ 240 billion Military Budget (3 % of GNP) and doles in CPEC ($46 billion) MSR ($26 billion) and part of OROB ($ 15 bill maritime states).

India’s GNP is $ 2.3 trill and is expected to grow at 7. 1 % if demonetization does not slow it further, so the accretion will make India grow at around $ 150 bill annually. India’s defence budget 2016-17 of $ 39.5 bill can therefore only go up to $ 43 bill.

The gap between India and China is likely to grow. Internal debt is less of concern as both India’s and China’s internal debt is large but China’s infrastructure took the hit which is complete. India may go broke making infrastructure it lacks with debt. Even the Navy lacks badly needed shore facilities as just two legacy modernized Dockyards cope with a bigger Navy which is stressed.

These, as the Chinese say, are interesting times and India is USA’s Cat’s Paw and Pakistan is China’s Cat’s Paw a phrase derived from La Fontaine’s fable, “The Monkey and the Cat”, referring to a person/nation (India for USA and Pakistan for China ?) used unwittingly or unwillingly by another to accomplish the other’s own purpose “. An influential journal writes, “The dying days of the Obama administration have seen a concerted, bi-partisan drive by the Washington political establishment and the Pentagon to further cement the Indo-US “global strategic partnership”. India’s NSA must be having this counter strategy. Shan No Varuna.

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