How to Track China’s Naval Dreams

How to Track China’s Naval Dreams


Last weekend, the Pakistan Navy briefly dominated headlines when two unrelated events took place the same day. Both constituted part of the fallout from the US Navy SEAL raid on Abbottabad, which claimed the life of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. On Sunday, Taliban militants struck at a naval air station in Karachi, killing 13 Pakistan Navy personnel and torching two US-built P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. A seesaw gun battle raged into Monday before the militants were finally silenced. The attack on Mehran Naval Air Station was part of a spate of Taliban operations evidently meant to remind Islamabad, the region, and the world that Islamist militancy remains a going concern despite bin Laden’s death. In essence, it was Taliban commanders’ way of messaging vis-à-vis important audiences.

Also on Sunday, Pakistani officials made an announcement of potentially seismic importance for the Indian Ocean region. It pertained to the western Pakistani seaport of Gwadar, which has occasioned no end of buzz among China-watchers since construction of deep-water port infrastructure began there in 2002. Gwadar lies near the Strait of Hormuz, along sea lanes bound to and from the Persian Gulf. More noteworthy, China bankrolled the project, putting up $200 million—or some 80 percent—of the initial funding. The harbour’s strategic site, coupled with the identity of its external funder, has fanned speculation that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, will someday convert Gwadar into a forward naval station in the Indian Ocean—paving the way for a standing PLAN Indian Ocean squadron.

The first part of the Pakistani announcement was innocuous. A Singaporean firm, PSA International, has administered the container terminal since it commenced operations in 2008. Islamabad has been having second thoughts about the arrangement, which came under legal challenge last autumn. Chinese officials have made occasional noises about taking over management of the port.

It was the other part of the announcement that raised eyebrows. Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar accompanied Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on a mid-May trip to China. Upon his return, Mukhtar reported that the Pakistani delegates had proposed both shifting management of Gwadar to a Chinese firm and constructing a military facility there.‘We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar,’ Mukhtar told the Financial Times. While he offered no timetable for the move, Mukhtar alleged that China had agreed to take over port operations. He added that Islamabad would be ‘more grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base was being constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan.’ His words seemed designed to put Washington on notice that Islamabad has other allies as US-Pakistan relations sour following the Abbottabad strike.

Leonard R.
June 12, 2011 at 11:58

Yang Zi is the only pro-China poster around here who makes sense from time-to-time.

June 8, 2011 at 22:55

to quote you John Chan “US people are selfish, greedy and mindful of entitlement; they all want to be the next Donald Trump without working for it, that’s why they are borrowing to live in that fantasy; They even won’t lift a finger to help their compatriots who are suffering the twisters’ wrath.”

As much as I have a disdain for the American way of living. Those words was echoed last World War 2 by the Japanese against the US. But who won?

I am not pro American or Pro Chinese. I just don’t want any poser trying to bully my country on it’s own backyard. So “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I welcome the protection of the US government for the small states that surround South China Sea. Dream on communist China!

Dr.Masood Tariq
June 6, 2011 at 18:38

Pakistan will be The Asian Tiger or a Failure State
It is a Hard Time for PAK-US Establishment and Pakistani Politicians to revise their Policy
Pakistan is a Pivot for War of Domination
Pakistan will be The Asian Tiger or a Failure State
Pakistan has Strategic Importance for International Players
Pakistan will be a battle ground instead of Communication Corridor
Pakistan is facing a hard time of life due to Communication Corridor
Pakistan will prefer to maintain the Strategic Relationship with U.S.A
People of Pakistan trust the China as a faithful friend
People of Pakistan are not ready to support any action against Chinese interest
People of Pakistan are fading up, furious and frustrated by the Dictatorial Rulers
Political Parties work like Public Ltd. Companies and have their own Sole agents, Distributors
Political Parties and Political Leaders are dependent on Establishment for Governance
Political Parties were never organized and systemized by the Party Owners
Political Parties of Pakistan needs to be Organized Appropriately
Pakistani Politics will start to dominate the National and International issues
Pakistani Politics will turn into beyond the imagination and understanding of layman

Pakistan will be The Asian Tiger or a Failure State
Analyzed by
Dr.Masood Tariq
Geographically Pakistan has Strategic Importance for International Players U.S.A, Russia and China, including Regional Players India, Iran and Saudi Arabia, along with many Supporting Players. Therefore, Pakistan is a Pivot for war of domination between International, Regional and Supporting Players and now day by day Pakistani Politics will start to dominate the National and International issues along with the past era Regional, Community, Sectarian, Local and Personal Interests and Emotions because, most of the Major International, Regional and Supporting Players will enhance the Proxy Facilitation and Interference in Politics and Governance. Therefore, Trends of Pakistani Politics will Turn into Beyond the Imagination and Understanding of Layman.
Pakistan is facing a Hard Time of Life due to Communication Corridor for Russia and China. Therefore, if China is ready to reach The Hot Water in near future then Pakistan will be a Battle Ground instead of Communication Corridor. Otherwise, it is not suitable for U.S.A to break or even reduce the Strategic Relationship with Pakistan because without Geographical support of Pakistan, U.S.A will lose the Control over Afghanistan and Russia will again advance towards The Hot Water. However any Plan of U.S.A to convert Pakistan into a Battle Ground will Force or Facilitate the Pakistan to change the camp. Otherwise, Pakistan will prefer to maintain the Strategic Relationship with U.S.A.
As the Pakistan became Pendulum between U.S.A and China along with many Regional and Supporting Players. Therefore, neither the U.S.A is able to isolate the Pakistan like Iraq and not be able to capture like Afghanistan. Because, this type of adventure may initiate the 3rd World War. However due to the Game of Domination between International Players, during this decade, either the Pakistan will be The Asian Tiger with strong Institutions and Political Parties (Most probably) or a Failure State with strong Personalities and War Lords. (Remote chance)
Although, for Game of Domination between International Players, the suitable option is, the will and wish of “People of Pakistan” represented by the Political Leadership. Furthermore, the Sovereignty, Integrity and National Interests of Pakistan are an internal subject, related to the Qualities of Nation and Leadership. But, due to un-organized and non-systemized Political Parties, since from Liaquat Ali Khan era to present Government, Dictatorial and Puppet Rulers were sweet choice for U.S.A, to secure the interests in Pakistan and to keep Russia away from The Hot Water.
However, now People of Pakistan are fading up, Furious and Frustrated by the Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Leaders due to negligence of Public affairs, Interests and Problems. Therefore in future, atmosphere and circumstances will not support the Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Politicians, Absolutely. Because, in future era Game of Domination between U.S.A, Russia and China will enhance. Therefore, Pakistani Politics will dominate the National and International issues; it will facilitate the “People of Pakistan” and “Major National Political Players” to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger through well-built State Institutions along with Properly Organized and Systemized Political Parties. Nevertheless, None- democratic and Un-constitutional Actions by the Establishment or None-Political and Un-ethical Activities by the Politicians, will Abrupt the Situation and Lead the Country towards a Failure and Malfunctioning State by way of Strong Personalities and War Lords.
In Democratic Political System, Government cannot be formed without Election victory by Public support through Political Party. However, in Pakistan, Political Parties were never organized and systemized by the Party Owners according to the Political Ethics and Manners, along with Party Manifesto. Therefore, most of Political Parties work like Public Ltd. Companies and have their own sole agents, distributors and salesman’s. Because of that most of the Politicians have their Own Paid Workers and Working Partners. They behave with the Political Workers like Customers and they treat the General Public like Slaves. Therefore, on one hand, Public is Disappointed, Dissatisfied, Disillusioned from Politicians and Political Parties, on other hand, Political Leaders are dependent on Establishment for Leadership and Governance, like the Owners of Public Ltd. Companies always remain Dependent on Government Departments.
Therefore, Political Parties of Pakistan needs to be Organized Appropriately by considering the necessity of Cadres at Union Council, Tehsil, District, Province and National level. These “cadres” should include persons:
(a) Those possess Intellectual Wisdom to Prepare Proper Plans and Programs. (Leaders or Initiators)
(b) Those have Organizational Skill to Organize and Systematize the Party. (Workers or Motivators)
(c) Those are Socially Well Respected among the Masses and capable to Influence the Public. (Supporters or Actors)
For the reason that, Grooming of Local, Provincial and National Leadership is not possible without Well Organized and Systemized Political Parties, as per Party Manifesto and according to the Political Ethics and Manners. Otherwise, Un-groomed Politicians and Un-organized and None-systemized Political Parties will remain dependent on Establishment for purpose of Leadership and Governance. Moreover, Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Politicians will remain be the choice for International, Regional and Supporting Players.
As the Russia was already attempting to reach The Hot Water but now China is also willing for it by 2030 and from 2020 China will start the advancement towards The Hot Water and till 2020 China will Work to Choose and Secure the Corridors. However, owing to Chinese roll in Pakistan since 60s, People of Pakistan trust the China as a Faithful Friend. Consequently; People of Pakistan are not ready to support any action against Chinese Interest, as they did against Russia for Decades. Furthermore, People of Pakistan are also fading up by the Arrogant, Autocratic, Dictatorial, Dogmatic and Tyrannical Rulers as well as Crooked, Corrupt, Dishonest, Dummy, Puppet and Pseudo Politicians, along with their Masters, Patrons and Facilitators. Therefore, it is a hard time for PAK-US Establishment and Pakistani Politicians to revise their Policy, to make it according to the will and wish of Pakistani People.
Because, in past era due to Social Polarization, Administrative Victimization and Economical Disintegration, Lower and Middle Class Peaceful, Law-abiding and Honest People of Pakistan have suffered a lot. But now they are going to be Immune and Reactive. It is visible from their Attitude of Ignorance and Not-willingly Participating in Political and Governance Activities.
Whereas, the Dictatorial Rulers, Elite Class Feudal Lords, Opportunist and Hypocrite Politicians along with their companions were the advantageous lot by means of dividing and disappointing the Nation through cultivating and harvesting the Regional, Sectarian, Community and Locality Oriented Emotions and Interests. But now they are going to be Fragile and Filthy. It is noticeable from their Lack of Attention in Public Politics and Governance Activities, due to Public Embarrassment and Feeling of Ashamed by their Political and Governance Character.
However, due to Geo-Political importance of Pakistan in War of Regional Domination and Psychosomatic Aptitude of Pakistani People, Any Political Proxy Facilitation by means of U.S Opposing Players will burst the situation. Because, due to Domination and Control of Opportunists, Hypocrites and Power as well as Money Hunger Persons in Pakistani Politics, Public is already under threat of Administrative Victimization and Judicial Injustice along with Economical Disaster and Social Polarization. Therefore, Collapsed and Coherent Pakistan may turn out to be a Major Hazard for U.S.A in the War of Regional Domination along with Control over Afghanistan.

June 4, 2011 at 06:01

So Britain fought a war over the Falklands for sheep-graziers and the potential of offshore oil and yet willingly dropped Hong Kong and the control of one of the world’s great seaports, control of commercial activity and all the employment and pensions provided for British civil servants of the Foreign Office. Before Britain withdrew she had attempted to milk the foreign reserves of Hong Kong which the Chinese prevented them from doing so.

Free White Knight
June 4, 2011 at 01:10

The real threat is not from DF21D,F (neutralized in just seconds by laser weapons installed soon on US warships) but from china’s ASATs that must be nullified immediately in case of conflicts by Global Prompt Strike, long-range manned & unmanned bombers, long-range cruiser missiles from subs,etc.
Book recommended: “Death by China” by Peter Navarro & Greg Autry.

June 4, 2011 at 00:18

China lasted longer than any nation and culture on this earth.

5000 years ago, there were only a hundred or so tribes and families. Now we have 1.4 billion people sharing only a hundred or so family names. Chinese are still using the same charaters used more than 3000 years ago.

I bet you that China will last much longer than your nation and culture.

June 4, 2011 at 00:14

In old days, the best shape is a harbor behind mountains.

Port Author, Qingdao, Gibraltar, Sevastopol, Malta and Pearl Harbor are good shaped harbors.

However no harbors can survive aerial attacks regardless of their shapes.

James Holmes is too old to understand the modern naval warfare.

June 4, 2011 at 00:05

British wants to keep Hong Kong Island the same way as keeping Gibraltar.

However, they were told either they hand over in peace, or they will be kicked out by force.

England will end up with the same fate as Spain and Mongolia soon.

The only long lasting empire in this world is China. Well, many will say China is not an empire.

John Chan
June 3, 2011 at 23:29

@Free White Knight, United States is no longer a country “don’t ask what the nation can do for you, only ask what you can do for the nation.” US people are selfish, greedy and mindful of entitlement; they all want to be the next Donald Trump without working for it, that’s why they are borrowing to live in that fantasy; They even won’t lift a finger to help their compatriots who are suffering the twisters’ wrath.

Asking US people to give up their comfortable life for toxic mushroom clouds in their backyards because a rock thousands miles away in the middle of an ocean, you must be joking.

John Chan
June 3, 2011 at 22:55

@Mannfred English, you did live in the past, you should be as honest as Charles who has the decency to face the reality that British Empire is no match China’s military might, and attended the public display of hauling down the Union Jack and raising the China’s flag in Her Majesty’s last jewel on her crown, HK.

HK government provided untold number of extremely high paying jobs for the Brits, bought supplies from UK uneconomically, paid expenses for the garrisons, ordered warships from UK that could be built locally, help British banks swallowed up local competitors, etc. UK was milking HK like a fat cow. Only the incompetence of British themselves failed to squeeze more from HK.

As The_Observer said “ManfredEnglish and the manner of the use of writing tends to lead me to conclude that he/she is either someone pretending to be British, really old or a child.”

Alexandre Carrico
June 3, 2011 at 22:18

Couldn’t agree more with Mahan’s and the author’s criteria over the strategic value of naval bases such as Gwadar. There is plenty of background noise over China’s military presence in Gwadar, which is for now, quite apart from the reality on the ground.
The financial investment made by China was quite premature and the return will take decades to materialize (one of the cons from the strategic partnership with Pakistan).
Unless the internal situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan evolve in a more positive and stabilizing manner, Gwadar port will remain a “inane white elephant” overlooking a strategic region but with little commercial trafic coming ashore and inland.
Besides it will face in the near future a stonger competition with indian ports and if in the long run there will be a regime change in Iran you will have to include these ports also.
China’s investment in Gwadar was not a shot in the dark but it may well be proved to be a blank one.

a m malik
June 3, 2011 at 22:16

I have read all the comments and wonder why the entire mindset is that of war mongrers. There already is a naval base in Gwadar for the past thirty years . In fact Pak Navy was the first to move in and has a full fledged base there. All those pundits Brain storming how the chinese operational plans be like – are playing a guitar in the wilderness.
All what was desired is to make it a hub port purley for container traffic for trans-shipment. On the wings the other peripheral elements could develop – but none on which the primary transshipment trade would depend. In this context the China shipping lines could play a vital part. The mideast markets are flooded with the chinese goods much the same way as are the US markets. To add to it Gwadar is only 70 miles from Iran and the Iran turmekistan road net work also links up with the chinese corridor. There is no need for going into the famous Khunjerab pass – which could be at best for a fall back position.
That during the constuction phase many diplomats from the western country visited gwadar. It was immediately sensed that the purpose was to find the possible road link plans with China rather the interest in port itself per se.

For Pakistan historically proved fact is that China has been a dependable friend as also the Russians for their allies. And regretablly the US are the most udependable and unreliable one’s. Little wonder that the gentle and helpful American on the streets is puzzled as to why America is hated across the globe despite the help going out of the way. An ordinary American may be right in his perspective – the only thing they have to do is to stop trusting blindly their own media.

For the present , neither China nor Pakistan is interested to have a Chinese military muscle in Gwadar but only trade links that could be mutually beneficial. The pakistani defence minsiter statement should be taken with a stride because perhaps he has not seen a sea side in his life – leaving aside the sandy but beautiful beaches of Gwadar- he being land lubber through his life.

am My email is :

Free White Knight
June 3, 2011 at 16:24

Then there’s no need for Gwadar any more because there will be no more china in this world! So simple, the answer!

John Chan
June 3, 2011 at 09:02

@Reason, how about the supersonic cruise missiles are coming from China’s secret stealth bombers, and from nuclear ballistic missile submarines? Or how about the Pearl Harbour is a target of DF-21F?

Mannfred English
June 3, 2011 at 08:56

The handover of Hong Kong to China has very little to do with the military power of either UK or China. Rather, it has to do with 1) the cost of running the empire and 2) politics back at Westminster.
1) An empire is only worthy to run if it is cost-effective. The 18th and 19th British Empire used to generate its income from, inter alia, manufacturing. We imported the raw materials from India and Africa, get them made in Birmingham and Manchester, and then sent them off to the port of Liverpool (export @ a high price).
Today’s Britain, however, generate quite a proportion of its income from finance. Everything is done in London (or, more recently, online). Colonies then became very expensive to run, especially when they do not play a part in the motherland’s economy. Even worst, some of them chose to rebel or have a civil war among the tribes which is often expensive to govern. As a result, Britian, exhausted and bankrupted by the two world wars, simply do not have the resources to maintain an empire.
2) Politics at home is not doing well at the time under Thatcherism (especially in the North of England). Politicans were busy dealing with internal affairs. There were massive protests on the street and many strikes were held (almost every week). I remember that most of the supermarkets are closed for almost a week. I also remember my landlord asked me to get two toilet rolls for the house because Sainsbury put a limit on how many we could get on each item. Unfortunately, no matter how unpopular the Conservatives were, they were able to stay in power for 27 years. For “old” labour fails to deliver an alternative government with a economic reform plan. It merely focuses on labour union’s powers and organising protests. It was not until Tony Blair that Labour came “new” labour and transformed itself into something quite special.

John Chan
June 3, 2011 at 05:23

In the middle of Kowloon there is a place called 九龍城寨, it was the location of Qing’s HK 衙門, it had city wall around it. 九龍城寨 was not part of the ceded land, therefore HK laws do apply there, HK police does patrol there until 1980s(?) because it was way out of control in all aspects of social orders in there. After the end of Qing, neither ROC nor PRC sent anybody to manage that place. If you step in九龍城寨 you step into a different world from HK. It was very fascinating; of course you manage your own risk in there.

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