No Chinese military bases in Indian Ocean: Menon



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 weapon".

"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.

Bureau Report