WASHINGTON, (BM) – For many years, India could enjoy a strategic advantage over China: its industry is heavily dependent on supplies through the Gulf of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia, and India does not cost anything to block it.
Soon, however, China will establish alternative delivery routes, including oil, Forbes notes.
The next confrontation between the military on the border of India and China again exposed the strategic rivalry of the most populous countries in the world. And the alignment of forces is not as attractive for India as it was before, Forbes columnist H. Sutton said.
He notes that India is actively patrolling the Andaman Sea adjacent to the Straits of Malacca and from time to time conducts exercises with the US Navy, while Beijing does everything to reduce its importance.
Forbes names three alternative paths that Beijing is already developing to reduce its dependence on the possible blockage of the Strait of Malacca. So, on the coast of Pakistan in the Indian Ocean, the port of Gwadar is fully developed.
In June, the Pakistani government approved $ 7.2 billion investment in the construction of a railway from Gwadar to Chinese Kashgar. In total, within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) program, Beijing proposed 40 infrastructure projects to Islamabad. Another of them is the oil pipeline. He must also go to Kashgar.
Its length will be 4.7 thousand kilometers. The oil pipeline will become a very expensive project for China, because due to the Himalayas and their seismic instability it will require costly technologies and the cost of delivering oil from Pakistan to China will be $ 10 per barrel.
And the transfer of oil to the eastern centers of the country will cost another $5. On the other hand, most of the oil through the Gulf of Malacca is delivered from Saudi Arabia, and the cost of transporting it by tankers to Guadar will drop to $2, writes the EuroAsian Times.
The publication notes that Russian oil is already arriving in the Chinese province of Xinjiang and the project for a new pipeline is connected only with the dilemma of the Strait of Malacca.
Moreover, in the case of Pakistani Gwadar, India has little to do. Forbes columnist points out that the port is located in a third country and China has opened a military base in Djibouti, seriously strengthening its presence in the Indian Ocean.
Another route to China may now lie along the Northern Sea Route. At least, Beijing is striving for this, from the adoption of an Arctic policy strategy to the purchase of its own icebreaker, according to the American publication.
In addition, already one way runs directly to Europe. In recent years, thousands of trains have traveled from China to Europe and back through Asia.
“Given all the factors, the strategic importance of the Strait of Malacca will decrease. India will still be able to block Chinese supplies through it. But this will no longer have the influence that would have been before,” Forbes summarizes.
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