WASHINGTON: China is likely to establish additional military bases in Pakistan and other countries with which it has a longstanding friendly ties and similar strategic interests, a new Pentagon report has said.
In its annual report to the Congress on China’s military build-up, the US Department of Defence said China’s construction of military base in the strategic location of Djibouti is just the first of what will likely be an ongoing expansion in friendly foreign ports around the world.
China is expanding its access to foreign ports to pre- position the necessary logistics support to regularise and sustain deployments in the “far seas”, waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
“China most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries,” the Pentagon said.
The report cautioned, however, that China’s efforts to build more bases “may be constrained by the willingness of countries to support” the presence of China’s People’s Liberation Army in one of their ports.
Notably, China is developing the strategically located Gwadar port in Balochistan, which many experts in the US say is aimed towards having a military presence.