New Delhi (Sputnik) — The interpretation of India's two-front war scenario with China and Pakistan is fast changing to "China" (in the north) and "China and Pakistan" (in the west). In this backdrop, New Delhi has expressed deep concern over Chinese projects in its backyard, which include infrastructure development, as well as the development of naval outposts, which India views as an attempt by Beijing to militarize the Indian Ocean region (IOR).
"We have also witnessed extra-regional nations maintain a near-permanent presence within the region on one pretext or the other. In order to sustain such a presence through an operational turnaround, these countries, which are extra-regional, are creating naval outposts as well as dual-use infrastructure in the region. This sort of militarization increases the complexities for the countries of this region," Sitharaman said at the occasion.
China is also developing the Gwadar port of Pakistan, and India fears that that port would also be put to dual-use by China as a trade route as well as a military base; particularly considering Beijing's maritime interest in securing the sea route from Gwadar and the fact that China has invested more than $45 billion in the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
"One can claim with the considerable assertion that the future of the world will be shaped, to a large extent, by the political and economic interactions between the stakeholders in the IOR," the Indian defense minister cautioned.
Meanwhile, Admiral Jayanth Colombage, a former Sri Lankan Navy chief, has said that there is an undeclared maritime cold war in the Indian Ocean region. He has also warned that the single worst maritime security threat in the region is maritime blindness. "57 percent of shipping does not report position accurately, 40 percent fishing is illegal," Admiral Jayanth Colombage said.