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China – Pakistan Sub Sale Gives Chinese Navy Toehold In Indian Ocean

China continues to project its military influence across the globe. Based on recent developments, it appears that the Chinese military is not just expanding its naval influence in the South China Sea, but is also looking to establish a presence in the Indian Ocean.

Chinese Submarine Docks In Pakistan

The first piece of evidence in this regard is Pakistan's announcement earlier this year that it will purchase eight modern Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines from China. Analysts note that this significant expansion of the nation's fleet will give Pakistan a notable Anti-Access/Area Denial capability against the Indian Navy. A stealthy submarine fleet packing a punch would be particularly useful in case of an Indian blockade of Pakistan, and would give New Delhi pause before sending out its new (under construction) aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant.

The second piece of the puzzle is the fact that China has also recently deployed submarines to the Indian Ocean. The Chinese submarines were ostensibly in the area to participate in the ongoing anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden with several other Chinese naval vessels. While this is true, the subs are almost certainly conducting exercises, surveys, and even combat training exercises for future operations in the Indian Ocean. Of note, the Chinese naval deployment to the area included a recent visit by a Yuan-class sub to a...