China widens presence in Indian Ocean through massive inroads in Djibouti

By ET News

Djibouti is a unique country in Africa, characterized by barren lands, but surprising stability in an extremely volatile region. It is strategically positioned next to the Bab-el-Mandeb, a critical maritime choke point. It is this significance of location that makes Djibouti a place of value for most East African nations, particularly those that are landlocked such as Ethiopia. And it is this strategic location that made China make swift moves for its objectives in the Indian Ocean Region.

Gaining from this position of advantage, Djibouti has the potential to grow into one of East Africa’s largest and fastest growing economies. Apart from its maritime activities, the country is also known to be generating revenue by leasing land to multiple foreign militaries.

China chose Djibouti for setting up a military base in the guise of securing its communication cables in the sea and ships from attacks and piracy. To further its agenda of surveillance and block overseas and deep- sea maritime traffic at will, China vigorously participated in the construction of Djibouti’s ports, railways, highways and related infrastructure.

China took the logistics support base in Djibouti on a ten-year lease in January 2016 and interestingly, by mid-2017 completely transformed the place as a full-fledged support base for the People’s Liberation Army, pointed out Africa experts.

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