Free Press Journal

‘Next big conflict with China to be on Indian Ocean’


New Delhi : The next big conflict with China is likely to be played out in the Indian Ocean and not on the Himalayas, according to acclaimed journalist and author Bertil Lintner.

Speaking in a panel discussion at the launch of his new book “China’s India War: Collision Course on the Roof” here on Wednesday evening, Lintner questioned China’s new found maritime interest under its One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

“You hear about this OBOR thing – One Belt One Road. They want to revive old trade routes,” he said. “Well, they once had land routes, yes, the Silk Road. But a maritime silk route? What’s that,” he wondered. He said that the last time Chinese ships went into the Indian Ocean was in the 15th century when Zheng He, who was a Muslim from Yunnan, sailed with his fleets of junks to India, Southeast Asia and Africa. Stating that Zheng was only an adventurer, Lintner said that after that China lost interest in the oceans.”China never had a navy. Apart from river patrol boats in the rivers to suppress banditry in their own country, now for the first time China is developing a blue water navy,” he said.

“They have never been in the Indian Ocean for 600 years… I don’t think there is going to be war in the Himalayas. Any conflict with China is going to be in the Indian Ocean.”