"Indian Ocean becomes battleground for India and China"Robert Kaplan:

'China wants a presence. India is unnerved by all of this,' Robert<BR>Kaplan, author of 'Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of<BR>American Power,' told a small gathering in Cambridge.<br><EM>ROBERT KAPLAN</EM>

Nov. 1, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. 04 No.-09 Oct 29 2010 (Kartik 12, 2067)

The route underscores the importance of these nations and bodies of
water as the United States seeks to check the growing assertiveness of
China, says Robert Kaplan, author of newly published “Monsoon: The
Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power.”

“It's not a war I'm predicting, but what I am alluding toward is a
very complex, Metternichian arrangement of power from the Horn of
Africa all the way up through the Sea of Japan,” Mr. Kaplan told a
small crowd Monday at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. "We don't
have to interfere everywhere, we just have to move closer to our
democratic allies in the region so they can do more of the heavy
lifting."

Opinion: Will US naval power sink?
China's ongoing dispute in the East China Sea over islands claimed by
Japan is the most recent example of Beijing's growing assertiveness on
water. South Korea and Indonesia – the other stopovers for Mr. Obama
next month – are also wary of China's wide-reaching maritime claims.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her part, seems to be filling
in the gap between these countries with her upcoming visits to
Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and New
Zealand.

Rise of India and China

A correspondent for the Atlantic and member of the Defense Policy
Board federal advisory committee, Kaplan says he is convinced that the
West should focus on the role that emerging superpowers China and
India will play as they battle for dominance in the Indian Ocean, an
area rich in resources and vital to shipping.

“In this post-Iraq, post-Afghanistan world ... we're seeing the rise
of India and China,” he says. “Think of China trying to move south
toward the Indian Ocean and India moving west and east. Where they
intersect will be lines of rivalry through the 21st century.”

China now has fighter jets stationed in Tibet that can reach Indian
airspace. The Indian Navy now has a presence in the South China Sea.

And in the Indian Ocean, both powers are racing to establish their
presence.

China is building major port projects in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma
(Myanmar), and Sri Lanka, while also providing significant military
and economic aid to those countries. Chinese warships paid their first
visit in August to Burma, the Monitor's Ben Arnoldy recently reported,
warning that the Indian Ocean could become a more serious flashpoint
for India and China's overlapping ambitions.

“China wants a presence. India is unnerved by all of this,” says Kaplan.

China takes to the seas
The United States, too, will need to play this game of “soft power” in the region. “We've gotten used to this Burger King, cold war-stylebase,” Kaplan told a smiling audience. Into the future, the US
military is likely to offer aid for nations to maintain military bases in exchange for access. “In other words, more of a subtle
relationship.”

Like the United States, which beefed up its navy and increased its
maritime activities after consolidating its land borders, so too is
China expanding on the oceans now that it has nearly completed drawing
its land border from Tibet to Taiwan.

“China is able to build a great navy precisely because its land
borders are secure,” says Kaplan. By contrast, he says India is still
attempting to control its borders with Pakistan (at Kashmir), Nepal,
and Bangladesh, which sucks resources away from its navy.

No longer America's playground
This highlights how India is still far behind China. China paves more
miles of road per year than India already has. Its economy and
military are both much larger than India's. Even the recent
Commonwealth Games in Delhi, fraught with delays and troubles, served
to highlight China's display of might in pulling off the 2008 Beijing
Olympics.

Regardless of when or if India catches up to China, this much is now
clear for the Washington, says Kaplan: “The Indian Ocean and Pacific
are no longer American lakes.”
(The Christian Science Monitor) China takes to the seas
The United States, too, will need to play this game of “soft power” in the region. “We've gotten used to this Burger King, cold war-stylebase,” Kaplan told a smiling audience. Into the future, the US
military is likely to offer aid for nations to maintain military bases in exchange for access. “In other words, more of a subtle
relationship.”

Like the United States, which beefed up its navy and increased its
maritime activities after consolidating its land borders, so too is
China expanding on the oceans now that it has nearly completed drawing
its land border from Tibet to Taiwan.

“China is able to build a great navy precisely because its land
borders are secure,” says Kaplan. By contrast, he says India is still
attempting to control its borders with Pakistan (at Kashmir), Nepal,
and Bangladesh, which sucks resources away from its navy.

No longer America's playground
This highlights how India is still far behind China. China paves more
miles of road per year than India already has. Its economy and
military are both much larger than India's. Even the recent
Commonwealth Games in Delhi, fraught with delays and troubles, served
to highlight China's display of might in pulling off the 2008 Beijing
Olympics.

Regardless of when or if India catches up to China, this much is now
clear for the Washington, says Kaplan: “The Indian Ocean and Pacific
are no longer American lakes.”
(The Christian Science Monitor)

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