China is tightening its grip in the South China Sea and beefing up its military capabilities by deliberately investing in artificial islands at the core of its regional economic influence. They are committed to trying every unethical way possible to make the world agree on their terms on behalf of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) policy. The EEZ allows and grants full freedom of the coastal water and seabed within the 200-mile distance of a country’s coastline. By establishing artificial islands in the region, they are able to claim the 200-mile portion as their territory.
South China Sea(SCS) being 3,780 kilometers away from India’s coastline, would not have mattered much for India but when we consider the 55% trade via the routes of SCS, it becomes absolutely important for India to contain Chinese aggression. The SCS region consists of countries which are not able to defend themselves from the military and economic might of China, and therefore its India’s duty as a member of Indian Ocean Rim Association, which is responsible for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the region, to protect the sovereignty of these smaller nations.
And that’s where India’s Iron Curtails comes into action. Under look east Asia policy, the Indian diplomats have been able to convince the ASSEAN countries to allow Indian investments in the region and also receive the naval assistance for their protection. India has successfully installed the Satellite Monitoring Station in Vietnam. ISRO has also linked it to their recent establishments in Indonesia, Brunei, and other nations residing in SCS.
This system allows flexibility in intelligence sharing capabilities and give India an edge in intelligence and cyber warfare over China. India has also been able to sign important diplomatic and strategic deals with countries trying to counter China and has military presence in SCS.
Logistic Deal Agreement under Logistic Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMoA), with the USA.
Agreement for the Provision of Reciprocal Logistics Support, with France.
Implementing Arrangement Concerning Mutual Coordination Logistics and Services Support, with Singapore.
Agreement to Extend Logistic Support to Each Other’s Navy, with South Korea.
These deals have leveraged India with its strong presence in the Indian Ocean to rightfully pinpoint and counter China in the South China Sea as well.
Recent developments in the world of geopolitics and eco-politics has strengthened India’s intent to defend at any cost. Understanding the importance of Strait of Malacca, and how it can act as a game-changer in the ongoing show of muscle, India has focused on massive build ups in Andaman and Nicobar islands. Indian Navy has also ramped up for their multi-mission deployment in SCS.
Furthermore, India is committed to leveraging the presence of US, France and other allies in the region by strategically using their bases in Diego Garcia, Reunion islands and in other ASEAN countries to tackle Chinese dominance.
ASEAN is an important group of countries which needs India’s support to survive and realizing their needs, the army is also in contact with their governments for the export of defense equipment and logistic support platforms.
India has always tried to stay neutral and it has benefited the country in many aspects economically and allowed itself to not engage in international events which had nothing to do with them directly. But given the military and economic might the country has managed to achieve, it is impossible for India to remain tranquil during geopolitical events. And surely India is gradually solidifying its economic intents on global platforms. The country is also firm with its decision to protect national and international peace and sovereignties, and the Indian presence is definitely going to curtail the Chinese "String of Pearls" strategy to bring in law and order in the world.