New Delhi: Former Foreign Secretary Shiv
Shankar Menon on Friday dismissed the view that China plans to
encircle India through military bases in the Indian Ocean,
saying the `string of pearls` is a "pretty ineffective murder
"There are no Chinese bases in the Indian Ocean today,
despite talk of the `string of pearls, which by the way is a
pretty ineffective murder weapon as any `clue` aficionado will
tell you," Menon said during a lecture organised by the
National Maritime Foundation here.
However, the former foreign secretary said there was
extensive Chinese port development activities in Myanmar,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and active weapons supply
programme to these countries.
"The question is whether and to what extent this
improved access and infrastructure will translate into basing
arrangements and political influence in future," he said
speaking on `Maritime Imperatives of India`s Foreign Policy`.
Menon said the strategic discourse and debate in think
tanks of both India and China, unfortunately, centred around
the rivalry between the two Asian giants.
"This is especially true of strategists in India and
China themselves, though not of their governments. The terms
in which the argument is presented are limited and would be
self-fulfilling predictions were the governments to act upon
them. Nor are they based on an examination of objective
interests of the states concerned," he said.