South Asia and Beyond

Andamans Cork In Bottle For China’s Navy Coming Through Malacca: Ex-U.S. Pacific Fleet Intel Head

NEW DELHI: “Unprecedented Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) activity is very dangerous right now,” Captain James Fanell (Retd), the former Director Intelligence and Information Operations, Pacific Fleet warns as the U.S. Navy celebrated its 245th birthday on October 13. His public warnings about China’s aggressive maritime ambitions in 2014 got him reassigned in the service. Six years later, he sounds the alarm on among other things, Taiwan, saying, “think of a noose that goes around someone’s neck and the noose has been pulled very, very tight.” The Fellow at Geneva’s Centre for Strategic Policy told StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi that “nations like India, the United States, Japan and Australia in the Quad should all be standing up and telling Beijing, you will regret the day you ever attempt that.”

On the civil and military infrastructure push in India’s only tri-service theatre command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Capt. Fanell said “efforts to reinforce and increase the infrastructure act as a barrier to untoward Chinese expansionism in the case of a crisis.” He noted the significance of a U.S. Navy’s long-range anti-submarine warfare and maritime surveillance aircraft, P-8 Poseidon, making a first refuelling stop in the strategic islands in the last week of September under the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), signed in 2016. “Not only does it demonstrate logistical interoperability, it also demonstrates the future of information and intelligence sharing, Fanell said, adding, the interoperability of the two navies from the islands are “critical, like a cork in the bottle for Chinese submarines that come in through the Strait of Malacca into the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.”

Amitabh P. Revi

Russian language speaker and conflict journalist. Amitabh Revi has been there, done that—from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to sublime Russia, Australia and the United States. Along the way he's picked up the Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship, the Ramnath Goenka award for coverage of the Iraq War and RT's Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria.

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