Keep an eye on China


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By Asad Mirza:

The geopolitical location of the Port of Berbera and Somaliland at the crossroads of West Asia, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean is likely to assume increasing strategic importance as the Indo-Pacific rivalries develop. intensify. Officially, there is no contact between India and Somaliland. Establishment in Somaliland would expand India’s presence and prove useful in monitoring Chinese activities in the region. India could use its ties with the United Arab Emirates to forge new ties with Somaliland.

THE aggressive and planned manner in which Chinese companies have made foray into the world poses a risk not only to economic interests but also to the defense interests of collaborating and neighboring countries. Recent reports from the ‘Wall Street Journal’ revealed that US intelligence agencies found evidence of construction work on what they believed to be a secret Chinese military installation in the United Arab Emirates, which was shut down after the Washington intervention. It says satellite imagery of Port Khalifa revealed suspicious construction work inside a container terminal built and operated by a Chinese shipping company, Cosco. It included huge covered digs in an apparent attempt to escape scrutiny and apparently for a multi-story building. The Biden administration made emergency contact with authorities in the United Arab Emirates, who appeared to be unaware of military activity, according to the WSJ. He said the talks included two direct conversations between Joe Biden and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in May and August.

U.S. officials visited the United Arab Emirates in late September and presented intelligence details to UAE authorities. Construction work has been suspended after US authorities recently inspected the Port Khalifa site. Chinese forays into the Gulf: Basically, China, the world’s largest trading nation, has supported Abu Dhabi as a Middle East hub for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its biggest project is the port by Khalifa. In addition, it is trying to expand its presence globally by building ports, railways and roads in partner countries, albeit on terms that lean heavily in its favor, in addition to challenging interests. Americans. Cosco, the state-owned Shanghai-based group that is among the world’s largest shipping companies, has invested an initial $ 300 million in the CSP terminal in Abu Dhabi, the first step in an investment program which could help make it one of the largest ports in the Persian Gulf over the next five years.

The deal with Cosco aims to attract foreign investment to the United Arab Emirates through Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), the huge logistics and manufacturing area that borders the port. Trade relations have grown stronger between China and the United Arab Emirates since Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan visited Beijing three years ago. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the United Arab Emirates last summer. Regional Geopolitics: China’s BRI is a state-sponsored strategy to improve land and sea trade infrastructure in Asia, the Middle East and Africa through multi-billion dollar investments in shopping malls across the eastern hemisphere, although it has been criticized by some observers for leaving the partner of Chinese companies in debt, as happened in Sri Lanka and Venezuela. In recent times, Persian Gulf powers such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have pledged to expand their influence in the Horn of Africa and are busy opening up commercial and military facilities in the region. the Red Sea. Major world powers like the United States (United States), Japan, China and France have established military bases in Djibouti. India has also reportedly expressed interest in opening the Djibouti base and Russia recently announced that it will establish a military base in Sudan. China is engaged in the development of large infrastructure projects such as ports and railways in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

As a result of these activities, the coastal and continental space from Sudan in the north to Kenya in the south has become a focal point of strategic rivalries between regional and world powers. Chinese companies in Somaliland: The geopolitical location of the Port of Berbera and Somaliland at the crossroads of West Asia, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean is likely to assume increasing strategic importance as Indo rivalries -pacific intensify. Historically, the port’s strategic location near the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which is a key maritime choke point for international trade and global energy security, has attracted foreign powers. In recent years, the United Arab Emirates have gained a foothold in Berbera. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Somaliland have entered into an alliance to develop the economic zone of Berbera. The Chinese navy established a facility in Djibouti, its first overseas base, about four years ago, which was placed in a China-run commercial port in Doraleh. In addition, in June of this year, a new container terminal was inaugurated at the port of Berbera in the Autonomous Territory of Somaliland. Somaliland is a breakaway region of Somalia and is not recognized by any other state. The port of Berbera is located along the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. For the United Arab Emirates, the development of the port of Berbera and the construction of a strategic partnership with Somaliland serve two interrelated objectives: to challenge the preeminence of Djibouti’s port facilities for maritime transport en route to the Suez Canal and to extend its influence in the Horn of Africa. With its well-established presence in Somaliland and southern Yemen, the UAE occupies an enviable geopolitical position: it can closely monitor the strategically important Gulf of Aden and shape the region’s strategic affairs. Interests of India: The Gulf of Aden is an integral part of India’s maritime neighborhood and the intensification of rivalries between the great powers underscores the need to increase India’s strategic presence in the region. India recently opened its embassy in Djibouti and has continued to expand its engagement in the Horn of Africa. Officially, there is no contact between India and Somaliland. Establishment in Somaliland would expand India’s presence and prove useful in monitoring Chinese activities in the region. India could use its ties with the United Arab Emirates to forge new ties with Somaliland. Compared to the unstable politics and insecurity that prevail in Somalia, democratic Somaliland is stable and secure. It will also serve its purpose of keeping tabs on Chinese activities in the region and will be a force to be reckoned with in the Gulf of Aden. (The author is a New Delhi-based political commentator.)

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