China is deeply invested in cementing its position as a stakeholder in the Indian Ocean. Through a series of loans and investments, Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are creating partners reliant on their capital, aiming eventually to leverage dependency to compel alignment with China’s interests. A May 2018 Department of Defense report on China’s military power addressed the naval implications of China’s port investments in the Indian Ocean for the United States. While China may not have access to an international network of bases to support military operations, they are creating areas of political space in which they are the dominant partner.
Unraveling the Maritime Silk Road
By Ensign Charlotte Asdal, U.S. Navy