String of Pearls China: About, Impact on India and Strategy

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

The String of Pearls China refers to the Chinese intention to install a network in IOR (Indian Ocean Region) encompassing India. Each Pearl String denotes some permanent Chinese military structure in a sequence of areas along a line. Also, the contemporary expansion of docks around India, in Hambantota, Gwadar, and Sittwe, located on the Bay of Bengal shore in the Myanmar territory, is the region of China’s String of Pearls.

In addition, even when these are commercial docks, India’s most significant fear is that these areas could quickly get converted to Naval establishments in case of conflict. The topic of String of Pearls of China is significant for the UPSC Exam and is covered under the International Relations segment of the IAS Syllabus.

Table of content

  • 1. The String of Pearls China (more)
  • 2. Impact of China’s String of Pearls on India (more)
  • 3. String of Pearls China: Measures Taken by India (more)
  • 4. String of Pearls UPSC (more)
  • 5. String of Pearls China UPSC Questions (more)

The String of Pearls China

American political scientists put up the geopolitical theory known as ‘The String of Pearls‘ in 2004. The network of Chinese military and commercial facilities, as well as their connections, are referred to by this phrase. These marine lines of communication run from the Chinese mainland to Port Sudan in the Horn of Africa.
China has been implementing its String of Pearls plan by establishing a network of ports and commercial and military outposts across numerous nations. China has used this tactic to safeguard its commercial interests because a significant portion of its trade goes via the Indian Ocean and several choke points, including the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca, and the Strait of Lombok.

Important Straits of the World

Impact of China’s String of Pearls on India

Here are some impacts that China’s String of Pearls holds on India.

  • Strategic impact: The String of pearls will point to China encircling India to denominate the Indian Ocean, as China does not have an opening in the Indian ocean. The strategic influence of India, which it enjoys in modern times in the Indian Ocean, will get lowered. Nations that today view India as a member in response to China may end up dominating China.
  • Economic impact: Indian resources will get diverted toward security and defence. Therefore, the country’s economy will not attain its potential hindering economic development. It might further lead to instability in the country and the southeast and east area.
  • Maritime security: China’s presence in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal will pose a significant threat to India’s safety through the water. China is growing firepower with more submarines, desecrators, ships, and vessels, threatening Indian maritime security through the String of Pearls.

Moreover, China’s backing for India’s conventional enemy, Pakistan, and the construction of its Gwadar Port is considered a danger. It further gets compounded by worries that China may create a global naval military base in Gwadar, which could let China execute expeditionary combat in the Indian Ocean area.

String of Pearls China: Measures Taken by India

The Indian government employs an approach to combat the Chinese String of Pearls Strategy. The technique includes building docks and comprehensive CSR (Coastal Surveillance Radar) techniques to track Chinese Submarines and Warships and import cutting-edge surveillance aeroplanes.

Below are some measures the Indian government has taken to combat China’s String of Pearls.

  • Act East Policy: This policy was established to incorporate India’s economy with southeast Asian countries. It has been employed to make a significant army and strategic arrangements with South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, allowing India to counter China.
  • Chabahar dock: India is expanding the Chabahar dock in Iran, extending an unexplored land-sea path to Central Asian nations circumventing Pakistan. Chhabahar gives India a strategic place since it oversees the Gulf of Oman, a significant oil supply passage.
  • Military and naval Relations: India has established a strategic naval alliance with Myanmar to modernize and train its navy, giving India a larger regional presence. Additionally, it has agreements for military cooperation with the USA, Australia, and Japan. The four nations, often called the QUAD, conduct combined military drills in the IOR region.
  • Development of IIFC-IOR: IIFC-IOR stands for Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region. IIFC-IOR, situated in Gurgaon, will communicate maritime information in real-time with friendly nations. All the coastal surveillance radar systems are linked to give the Indian Defense Establishment a complete real-time view of Chinese activity in the area.

In addition, the aircraft can effortlessly track Chinese warships and aircraft run airports in neighbouring nations to keep a watch on the Port constructed by China at the String of Pearls. Furthermore, it would further deepen defence relations, develop bilateral connections with South Asian nations and carry out routine military drills with the navies of Japan, the USA, and Australia.

String of Pearls UPSC

The String of Pearls China is an important topic under the International Relations of the Polity section of the UPSC Syllabus. The topic is extremely important for the upcoming UPSC Exam, and one must refer to the International Relations Books for UPSC to prepare for the topic well.

String of Pearls China UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following port is used by China under its String of Pearls Policy?

  1. Bandar Abbas
  2. Gwadar
  3. Hambantota
  4. Both 2 and 3

Answer: Option D

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