China’s String of Pearls strategy to encircle India

String of pearls
  • The encirclement of India by China is said to be originated in 2004 when “string of pearls” hypothesis emerged for the first time. Under String of Pearls hypothesis, China has been building a network of Chinese military and commercial facilities in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Many analysts believe that string of pearls, Belt and road Initiative and the debt trap diplomacy together completes China’s ‘Encirclement Strategy’.

East Africa

  • China built the first Military support base in the Indian Ocean in Djibouti in 2017. A report from Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) points out that China is involved in 46 seaports in Africa in a form or other.

Persian Gulf

  • With Yemen, China has signed several important deals in 2012 and 2013 which includes China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Co-operation (CCOEC), 3 natural gas-fired power plants and 2 container ports at Aden and Mokha worth $508 million.
  • After US sanctions on Iran, it has been searching for new economic partners in the region. Meanwhile, China has committed a 400 billion Dollars investments in Iran in next 25 years

If you want to know abouth Chicken Neck Corridor and its strategy, click here.


  • Pakistan’s relations with China has rapidly transformed inlast few years due to its increasing distance from the USA. Gwadar Port in Pakistan is located near the Indian invested port Chabahar in Iran.
  • Pakistan has allowed China direct access to the Gwadar Port through ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)’ which is already resented by India since it pass through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK).
  • SIPRI reported that China is Pakistan’s largest arms partner country.


  • China has also been active in Maldives for years now. The advent of Pro-China Maldivian president Abdulla Yameen at the helm was worrisome for India.

Sri Lanka

  • China’s ‘debt trap’ policy seems most pronounced in Sri Lanka where China has taken over the Hambantota port o lease for 99 years.
  • China has also been working on two hybrid renewable energy plants at Nainativu and Anailaitivu islands which are located near the Indian Territory.


  • After an agreement with Bangladesh in 2017, Chinese companies have purchased three Natural gas fiels in the Country. China would also help Bangladesh to lay down 220 Km long pipeline for importing oil to Chittagong Port.
  • Bangladesh also granted access of Chittagong and Mongla ports to China in 2019.


  • Coco island in Myanmar is strategically most important for China. It is located in Bay of Bengal around 300Kms off Myanmar. Chinese Army has been building a military base on Alexandra Channel in Coco Island North of Andaman Islands.
  • China has been using the islands since 1994 when Myanmar leased the islands to China. The development of deep water port Kyaukpyu by China in 2020 has worried India the most.


  • The Pro-China PM of Nepal K O. Oli has encouraged Chinese investment in order to reduce dependency on India.

Tajikistan & Wakhan Corridor

  • China has set up its second foreign military base 12Kms off Wakhan Corridor in north of India. India’s only foreign military base is located at Farkhor in Tajikistan.

India’s Counter Encirclement in response to ‘String of Pearls’:

  • India’s “The necklace of diamond strategy” has been in the news recently. Indian Navy does have access to the Changi Naval Base of Singapore after 2018 agreement which it uses for refueling.
  • Indonesia has granted access of Sabang port to India for military purposes in 2018.
  • India’s access to the Duqm port in Oman can be proved crucial for countering Chinese ports located at Persian Gulf, Horn of Africa and Pakistan.
  • India already have military access to Seychelles and Assumption Island in the Eastern Africa and also operate coastal surveillance radar system.
  • India also convinced Japan for Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) in 2017 as an alternative of China’s Maritime Silk Road.

Sodhi Gautam

Sodhi Gautam

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