China to set up military base in Indian Ocean

Beijing, Dec 12 (TruthDive): China on Monday announced that it will set up its first military base abroad in the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles to “seek supplies and recuperate” facilities for its Navy, which may cause unease in India.

The base in Seychelles is regarded significant by analysts as China is about to launch its first aircraft carrier. It is currently undergoing final trials.

The decision to establish its first naval base abroad was taken during Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie’s goodwill visit to Seychelles earlier this month.

During the visit, Seychelles Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam said his country has invited China to set up a military base on the archipelago to beef up the fight against piracy.

“For the time being China is studying this possibility because she has economic interests in the region and Beijing is also involved in the fight against piracy,” he said.

General Liang, who arrived in Victoria on Thursday with a 40-strong delegation, had been invited in October by Seychelles President James Michel, when he was on a visit to China.

During Liang’s visit, the two sides exchanged views on their countries’ and armies’ cooperation, as well as on the global and regional situation, a media report said.

China has already cemented its foothold in the Indian Ocean by signing contract with the UN backed International Seabed Authority to gain rights to explore polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in Indian Ocean over the next 15 years.

‘Together, we need to increase our surveillance capacity in the Indian Ocean… as Seychelles has a strategic position between Asia and Africa,’ Michel said in statement, adding that China had given its army two light aircraft.

The two countries signed a military cooperation agreement in 2004 that has enabled some 50 Seychelles soldiers to be trained in China.

They renewed their agreement on Friday, with China to provide further training and equipment.

The contract awarded this year to a Chinese association exclusive rights to explore a 10,000-square-km of international seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean.

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