The Seychelles islands, between India and Africa, are one of those places you don’t hear from very much. I spent an entertaining day there a few years ago with some giant tortoises on a wildlife preserve; they are very fond of having their necks scratched.However the island chain is making a rare appearance in the news pages today; China is considering an offer from the government to site a naval base there as China’s naval presence grows.In itself, the news is hardly surprising. China needs to be able to project naval forces towards Africa for perfectly legitimate reasons. With tens of thousands of Chinese working in volatile African countries, China must be ready to protect or evacuate its citizens in emergencies.But in the context of today’s Asian geopolitics, this is going to be seen by many (including many in China) as a riposte to America’s recent announcement of new overseas bases in Australia and Singapore. For India, it will look like confirmation of China’s “string of pearls” strategy; many Indians believe China is trying to preempt India’s rising power by establishing key strategic outposts that encircle China’s biggest Asian rival.And so it goes.
Seychelles Offers China A Naval Base