Original title: Australian media: the Chinese Air Force aims at blue water to show its presence.
China and India compete for control of their flight corridors to control ports in the Indian Ocean as China and India compete with other countries to control ports in the region. Formerly little-known Hanbantota, Guadal and Haofan suddenly attract international attention. The competition critical infrastructure is now not limited to the sea. The right to use the airport is also important today, allowing it to cover the vast India ocean. This is why China and its competitors are increasingly concerned about gaining access to the airport.
As a new force in the Indian Ocean, China has the greatest need to ensure air passages to accomplish a variety of strategic tasks, and to support its navy through the evacuation of fulcrum operators or other operations to protect its citizens, as well as maritime air surveillance. The PLA Air Force has just begun to show a sense of presence: participating in the evacuation of Libyan nationals in 2011, as well as the search for MH370 in 2014. These are just the beginning. The PLA Air Force still has a lot to learn, and its experience and ability to carry out long-range operations are far behind the Navy's.
Like the Navy, the Chinese air force is facing a disadvantage in the India ocean far away from the border. If we rely on the local base, we can not go deep into the India ocean. This means that the PLA Air Force needs to have several reliable entry points in the Indian Ocean, just as the PLA Navy needs a maritime fulcrum. Although the PLA Navy currently has a base in Djibouti, the Chinese Air Force has to share local airports with the United States and other countries. From the perspective of Beijing, this is not ideal. Elsewhere in Africa, the PLA Air Force, relying on Chinese airports in Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, may be allowed to use them and may soon gain operational control over some airports.
Another important function of the PLA Air force is to support the actions of the Chinese navy. Naval bases need safe and efficient air passages to transport personnel and materials, and maritime operations need air surveillance and protection. This may be a factor in China's involvement in the construction of airports near Hanbanto Tower in Sri Lanka and Guadal in Pakistan. But India gained control of Hanban toto airport. If it becomes a base for China's navy, but India can monitor air movements, its value to China will decline. Last week, India also announced that it would operate the airport in the northern part of Sri Lanka, although Sifang denied. Similarly, controlling the airport will enable India to pre empt and prevent future Chinese involvement.
Maldives has also become the focus of strategic competition, and aviation right is the key issue. The India navy has been at a helicopter at the airport for 10 years. But since the political crisis earlier this year, the Malaysian government has asked them to leave. The Indian side doubted that it would remove obstacles for the arrival of China's naval and air force in the future. (author David Brewster, Chen Junan Translated)
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