China’s Military Base in Djibouti: Strategic Implications for India

War on the Rocks – Whatever its purported justification, China’s new base in Djibouti has stirred consternation in India, where commentators regard the development as a statement of strategic intent in the Indian Ocean. With an estimated area of nearly 250,000 square feet, the facility includes a large underground complex and is capable of hosting an estimated 10,000 troops. Over the past decade, New Delhi’s view of Beijing’s Indian Ocean ambitions has evolved significantly. Previously, a section of India’s strategic elite saw China’s forays in the region as largely commercial, and believed the Indian Navy, which dominated the South Asian littorals, could effectively counter PLAN aggression there. That consensus appears to have shifted. Many Indian observers now believe China’s military outpost in East Africa is aimed at regularizing a PLAN presence in the Indian Ocean, underscoring Beijing’s strategic ambition across the arc of the Indo-Pacific Region.