Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Thursday said India has its own assessment of the military cooperation between China and Pakistan, and whether Beijing would make a military base in Gwadar “time will only tell”.
The admiral was asked after an event about a Pentagon report that said China could be establishing an overseas military base in Pakistan’s Gwadar.
The Pentagon annual report had surmised that China was set to expand its military capabilities across the globe and “most likely will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has longstanding friendly relations and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan”.
The report said that “this initiative, along with regular naval vessel visits to foreign ports, both reflects and amplifies China’s growing influence, extending the reach of its armed forces”.
Admiral Lanba said: “It is an assessment which is there in the report. We have our own assessments. Let us see what happens in the future.”
About the port in Gwadar, being built with Chinese assistance, the admiral said: “What happens in the future, whether it is going to be converted into a military base, time will only tell.”
Pakistan is already the largest buyer of Chinese-made arms and was the only country singled out as a likely location for an overseas Chinese military base, after Djibouti in Africa.
China had last year started the construction of its first overseas base in Djibouti. The African nation is already home to Camp Lemonnier, a large US military base.