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SEA SENTINELS PROTECTING CPEC IN ERA OF NEW COLD WAR

  • Muhammad Azam Khan
  • Jan, 2018
  • 453
  • Regional

A special CPEC cell has been created inside RAW, India's premier intelligence agency. The cell was recently apportioned a huge budget of US$ 500 million. Its sole aim is to subvert and sabotage CPEC

As part of its over three decade long struggle to bolster the maritime sector, expand outreach and sensitize the nation on the existing and potential contribution of the maritime sector towards the growth of the country, Pakistan navy held first of its kind “Maritime security workshop” (MARSEW) in September this year. With premier institute of Pakistan navy war college, Lahore as the venue, the pioneering workshop drew cross section of participants from politico-military, academia and civil sector of Pakistan. The two week long program involved a week of discussions on various dimensions of national maritime sector including security developments in the Indian Ocean. This was followed by another week of visit to Karachi and coastal areas where participants were explained the role, functions and command structure of Pakistan Navy. A detailed briefing on ongoing activities at the port of Gwadar, the bedrock of CPEC, was part of the schedule of events. The President of Pakistan addressed the participants at the concluding session of the workshop.

For more than seven decades, the United States wielded its economic and military might to shape the international order. America did this essentially through its indomitable navy which controlled strategic intercontinental maritime highways shipping merchandise worldwide. This control meant dominance over global economy. All of this now seems to be fast fading. A new world order is reshaping. The American power is in decline and being challenged as never before in recent memory. Analysts view the US military of today as a “hollow force” of the 1970s. Under the policy of “America first”, President Trump further seems withdrawing his country from global affairs. His new National Security Policy released this month demonstrates this fact.

The vacuum is getting filled by China and Russia-the two powerful contenders pitted against US. Fearful of China’s rise and a resurgent Russia, the United States is locked in a new cold war. Scholars use metaphorical expression, “Thucydides trap,” to illustrate the ongoing power struggle. It refers to Peloponnesian Wars fought between Athens and Sparta from 460 to 446 B.C. In the 5th century B.C., Sparta and Athens were the two major powers in Greece. With their overlapping spheres of influence, Sparta’s fears grew stronger as Athens power ascended and it started building an ever-bigger fleet of ships. The fear and friction led to series of wars which progressively became sophisticated and deadlier thereby wiping out entire civilian populations. This scribe however would brand the contemporary trilateral power competition as “Kautilyan tussle.”

Chanakya, commonly known as Kautilya was political philosopher, thinker and chief advisor on state affairs to Chandra Gupta Maurya (322-298 B.C.) whose reign started following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. The sagacity and timeless wisdom of Kautilya endeared him to Maurya. Consequently, he was conferred an elevated status by Maurya in his dominion. Kautilya then helped the King establish a vast empire that stretched across the Indian sub-continent. Kautilya’s famous treatise Artha-shastra (The Science of Material Gain) spread over 15 parts transcends time and age. It is considered a masterpiece of political theory, statecraft, diplomacy, strategy, war and tactics. In a nutshell, “the ultimate strategy of a state is not to maintain a balance of power between states but to overcome this equilibrium in order to establish stability through hegemony,” suggests Artha-shastra. This, then, is the essence of ongoing struggle between three principal players in global arena today.

Having checkmated US in Syria and demonstrated its military as well as cyber warfare potential, first in Ukraine and more recently during the last American elections, Russia under Putin is aggressively moving to regain its lost global status. In terms of purchasing power parity, China’s GDP has meanwhile surpassed that of the United States. Beijing is flexing its economic and military muscle exhibited through ‘One Belt, ‘One Road’ initiative, establishment of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and naval power dominance. Other than Korean peninsula, the most significant battleground of continuing power contest between US and China is South China Sea and the Western Indian Ocean.

In late June this year PLA navy launched a formidable first of its class warship, the 12,000 tonnes Type 055 destroyer. The ship which will soon join the world’s fastest growing fleet is considered amongst the world’s most advanced surface combatant and boasts...

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