A University Grants Commission Approved Journal
(under UGC-CARE, Arts & Humanities Citation Index)
ISSN 2582-2241




The String of Pearls theory, ever since its inception in 2004, has raised serious concerns in New Delhi about the rapidly increasing activity of China in the Indian Ocean Region and in the Indian Subcontinent. The theory put forwards a hypothesis of the strategic encirclement of India by China, thereby posing serious (yet assumed) threats to Indian interests and sovereignty. This paper analyses the fundamental tenets and variables of the String of Pearls theory, in the context of the latest developments in Indo-Sino relations and Chinese activities in South Asia in the last decade (2008-2018). The paper attempts to answer the question: “does the String of Pearls, as stated in the academic literature, pose an immediate threat to India?” The paper answers this question by using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Indian behavior vis-à-vis China’s activity has been mainly reactionary because of the influence of this ambitious theory. The authors question the viability and necessity of this behavior fourteen years after the publication of this developing phenomenon. The Indian Ocean Region is considered to be the next flashpoint and a theatre of geopolitical conflict, and it is prudent for India to safeguard its interests.

States in the twenty-first century are confronted by “the security dilemma:” fearing an imminent threat to their sovereignty and interests, states adopt domestic and foreign policies in order to prevent the possibility of facing great loss due to the capabilities and ambitions of another state. This security dilemma[1] is the principal driver of geopolitics and is often strategic in nature and does not take the form of overt action against a perceived rival or an enemy state. In this context, the String of Pearls (SOP) theory, originally published by Booz Allen Hamilton in 2004 in its report “Energy Futures in Asia,” raised serious concerns in Washington and New Delhi about China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).[2]

The String of Pearls theory hypothesises upon the contemporary Chinese maritime activity from the Middle East—across the Indian Ocean—to the South China Sea.[3] The hypothesis states that China has been investing in sea ports in various countries within the IOR to strategically safeguard its energy interests, and to achieve its “offensive” and “broad security objectives.”[4] The Booz-Allen Hamilton report came in the wake of renewed vigour in the Chinese government and its vision of four “New Historic Missions” for the People’s Liberation Army with regards to the global order, expressed by the president, Hu Jintao, as: “to ensure military support for continued Communist Party of China (CPC) rule; to defend China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national security; to protect China’s expanding national interests; and to help ensure a peaceful global environment and promote mutual development.”[5]

Ever since its publications fourteen years ago, an intensive discourse has occurred in academic and policy spheres in India concerning the realities of this theory (the actual Chinese activity) and India’s response to it. Instead of taking this old approach, it is important to understand whether the applicability and efficacy of this theory has changed because the capabilities of both these Asian giants have evolved, along with changes in the dynamics of the geopolitics of the region. The basis of the SoP is centred on the changeable nature of the naval bases that the Chinese are establishing in the IOR. These strategic locations in various South Asian countries serve the economic role of safeguarding Chinese imports from West Asia.  In this theory, each of these ports is attributed the designation of a “pearl” and the theory itself depends on these ports actually being transformed into Chinese military posts in the IOR.[6]

This fundamental aspect of the SOP theory is far from materialising into a reality in view of latest developments around these ports and the countries these ports are located in: Sri Lanka, for instance, has openly opposed Chinese military presence in and around its waters,[7] and the new government in the Maldives, which in regards to military interaction has been pro-India and anti-China, will not allow Chinese military investment or economic presence in the country that may end up compromising its national security or control.[8] The Chinese base in Chittagong has shown military capabilities, and the port in Gwadar, Pakistan can gain these capabilities over the course of the next decade.[9] It is to be noted Pakistan has shown an inclination towards engaging with the Chinese in transforming their port.[10]

The establishment of these two bases as militarily capable in no way substantiates the hypothesis of this theory, and does not turn the Chinese naval presence into a serious strategic concern for India, as the theory has highlighted it to be. It is further to be noted here, that the original report (establishing the SoP theory) published in 2004 is not accessible to academic circles,[11] which inevitably has created a certain amount of speculation within this theory, often not taking into account the Chinese reasoning behind Chinese behaviour. The SoP theory has an inherently paranoid view of international relations in Asia, and places China as an antagonist that is actively challenging the regional and world order via military-economic means. The original report published by Booz-Allen was a confidential report for the American government, and was only disclosed to the Washington Times, which then published an executive summary of the report.[12]

In view of the above stated facts, this paper will analyse the realities surrounding the SoP theory on the following basis:

  • China’s behavior vis-à-vis the theory.
  • India’s reaction to Chinese behavior (driven by the theory).
  • The predominant security dilemma in Indo-Sino relations and the role of this theory within the bilateral relationship.

Chinese Naval activity in the context of the String of Pearls

Owing to the lack of a comprehensive definition of the String of Pearls, the Chinese excursions into India’s ‘First Sphere of Influence’[13] are regularly attributed the catchphrase of a strategic ‘pearl.’ The Chinese involvement in the development of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, Chittagong Port in Bangladesh, Marao in the Maldives, and the contentious Gwadar Port in Pakistan are cited as examples of this containment strategy.[14] Wariness in India spiked when the Chinese submarine, Changzheng-2, and the warship, Chang Xing Dao, docked at the Hambantota port in 2014.[15] This was followed by Sri Lanka handing over the strategic port to China on a ninety-nine-year lease when it was unable to pay off its debt.[16] Scholars have speculated that China will use similar means to practice what has been termed as ‘debtbook diplomacy,’ wherein they will gain possession of strategically located ports from under-developed or developing countries as compensation for their inability to pay the exorbitant loans provided by the Chinese government previously.[17]

The Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, and the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), have further proved to be a bone of contention between the three dominant powers of the South Asia.[18] Part of the highway is slated to pass through the disputedparts of Kashmir with India alleging that the construction of any such highway is a breach of its sovereignty. If completed, the CPEC would border India’s northwest frontier, and when viewed together with the Hambantota port, Marao, and Chittagong port it spells strategic encirclement of India on the southern and eastern fronts respectively, leaving only the northeast, where it already shares a land border with China. Unsurprisingly, this has led to an environment of high speculation and suspicion in New Delhi as the possibility of China upgrading these facilities to accommodate the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) presents a potential threat to India’s core interests.

China’s Blue Water Navy

Chinese activity in the IOR should be viewed in light of its Defense White Paper of 2013 which notes the need for China to “develop blue water capabilities” as China ventures into the realm of “open seas protection.”[19] Additionally, the PLAN has seen an exponential growth in its capabilities and resources with China now in possession of more naval assets than the United States, according to the research portal Global Fire Power Index.


United States


Total Naval Assets



Aircraft Carriers















Patrol Craft



Mine Warfare Craft



Merchant Marine Strength



Major Ports and Terminals



Source: Christopher Woody, “These are the 10 biggest Navies in the world,” Economic Times, April 12, 2018.

The American naval strategist, Alfred Mahan, had noted that that sea power rests on three pillars: industrial production at home and markets overseas, merchant and naval fleets, and naval stations scattered along important sea routes to support those fleets.[20] As the second largest economy in the world, China more than satisfies the prerequisites for the first pillar. The rapid quantitative growth in the PLAN’s resources is enough to satisfy the conditions for the second pillar as well. The String of Pearls strategy ascribed to Chinese expansion into the IOR seems to follow in the same vein as Mahan’s third pillar. While this does not necessarily point towards an attitude of rapid militarisation, it does remain a cause for concern for India as it would reinforce the idea of strategic encirclement and could ultimately spell disaster in the long run.

Mercantilism or Militarism?

The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, formulated the Malacca Dilemma in 2003 that China faced because of its increasing dependence on oil and the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) that brought commodities to the Chinese ports.[21] The Malacca Straits are a narrow waterway connecting the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea. Some 80 percent of China’s oil traverses the strait and if it were to be blockaded it would choke the Chinese economy.[22] The Malacca Dilemma has only worsened with Chinese efforts to circumvent it proving to be of no avail as the rapidly expanding Chinese economy remains ever thirstier for oil. China surpassed the United States as the largest importer of oil in 2013,[23] and the trend is expected to continue as the Chinese economy will demand more fuel in the future.


Source: International Energy Agency, “World Energy Outlook,” 2011.

China’s energy and national interests have therefore intertwined with the security of these routes. The String of Pearls shadows the SLOCs traversed by the ships carrying oil to China (see map). The route followed passes through the Indian Ocean where China’s presence had so far been restricted to the anti-piracy efforts that the PLAN took part in around the Gulf of Aden. This would have been insufficient for the protection of Chinese interests against the threats by both state and non-state actors in the region in the long run.

Source: Gurpreet Singh Khurana, “‘Sea-based’ PLA Navy may not need ‘String of Pearls,’” Centre for International Maritime Security, August 12, 2015, accessed November 13, 2018. http://cimsec.org/sea-based-pla-navy-may-not-need-string-pearls/18053.

Within the IOR there is a clear dominance by the Indian Navy complemented by the American Fifth Fleet and its military base in Diego Garcia, and the two could easily blockade or hamper the flow of goods to and from China in the ocean and the narrow straits. To assuage these concerns, Beijing seeks to establish a more dominant presence in the region and the uncertainty surrounding its policies has led to increased paranoia in New Delhi. The paranoia on either side is not lost on the states hosting the Chinese ports. These states are providing assurances to New Delhi (with the exception of Pakistan) over the non-militaristic nature of the Chinese presence as evident by the statement by the Sri Lankan prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, clarifying Sri Lanka’s stance on the subject: “I state clearly that Sri Lanka headed by President Maithripala Sirisena does not enter into military alliances with any country or make our bases available to foreign countries.”[24] However, such assurances have gone little ways towards placating the concerns of analysts in New Delhi. Moreover, the Sino-Pakistan ‘all-weather’ relationship continues to be a thorn in India’s side as reports emerged early in 2018 of China planning to acquire a new base in Jiwani, near the pre-existing port of Gwadar.[25] Furthermore, Chinese military analyst Zhou Chenming was quoted as saying: “China needs to set up another base in Gwadar for its warships because Gwadar is now a civilian port,” despite continued Chinese denial of any such claims.[26]

When analysing the Chinese military presence at such ports, one should take into account the fact that states would not usually choose to compromise their sovereignty by allowing a foreign military presence within the limits of their own territory. The same applies for the host countries in the String of Pearls theory: the idea that India’s neighbours (with the exception of Pakistan) would allow a foreign military power to develop military capabilities in their country seems out of place as these states are aware of India’s security concerns, and any violation despite cognizance of those concerns would spell direct and serious opposition to the preeminent power in the region. Moreover, these are states whose economies are tied closely to that of India, they share a significant diaspora with India, and have traditionally looked to it as their security provider (such as the role played by India in the formation of Bangladesh in 1971). Without significant international backing it would be imprudent for these states to act against the interests of India voluntarily.

It should also be noted that the advent of modern technology and momentous progress in the fields of C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) has reduced the utility of military bases, as expressed by the scholar Maleehah Iman Ali.[27] This would mean that the establishment of military bases would be a financially and diplomatically expensive exercise. Therefore, while the initiative to set up foreign bases is certainly an attempt by China to protect its trade interests, there remains no evidence that it is an exercise in militarist expansionism.

India’s Reactionary Behaviour

India’s utopian ideal is to strive towards a peaceful and stable neighbourhood while providing a large net of security, in return for control on the discourse of law and order, and stability of the region. India’s foreign policy has always outlined its objectives and driving principles unequivocally and clearly, but recent developments have displayed how these objectives are not being pursued in an orderly fashion; with no clear framework for operation, always reactionary in nature, and focusing on bigger diplomatic goals through symbolism and not conducive diplomatic exchange.

Even though the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has made flamboyant visits to most South Asian neighbours during his first term, and has achieved memoranda of understanding in all of his visits, there is yet no clear evidence that these visits empirically achieved a significant diplomatic objective that can be seriously compared to China’s relentless growth in the same countries. India’s methodology of symbolism and showmanship is well noted and its importance in domestic spheres is acknowledged, but if India wishes to compete with the overt Chinese growth in its own region of power, it needs to not just recognise its adversaries’ methodologies but evolve and adapt accordingly as well.

India claims to be a net security provider of the IOR, and wishes to work in cooperation with other states in the region to take a leading role to create an environment of growth and security.[28] To achieve this goal, an indispensable variable is the role that smaller countries play in the region. As it was earlier noted by scholars, India has been fairly slow in realising the need for larger, stronger security cooperation with these countries due to the unstructured caution exercised by policy makers in New Delhi.[29] It was also noted earlier, during the tenure of the previous Congress administration, the depth of security relationships was lagging behind in comparison to India’s ‘hard power’ capabilities,[30] and at the same time Chinese ‘incursion’ into India’s backyard was increasingly observed, especially in the countries where these relations were lagging behind. India’s hesitancy to invest in the maritime infrastructure of its neighbouring states had created a vacuum that the Chinese were able to supplement.[31] The absence of the formulation of a grand strategy by India for its energy security, while China already possessed one, was acknowledged by the then-prime minister, Manmohan Singh.[32] The loss of the desire to formulate power projection capability led to the further embitterment of relations with China whereby ineptitude fed the security dilemma. With the advent of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in 2014, there was a tangible increase in the Indian diplomatic outreach with these countries, but over the course of four years of the government, it can be seen how unstructured and inorganic these efforts have been so far.

The biggest threat that India perceived from the Chinese presence in the IOR was the maritime linking of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative of China, which would allow the East Asian giant to circumvent the peninsular country in a hybrid manner, and also its possibility of posing a significant strategic threat to Indian interests.[33] The latter resonated with the primary premise of the SOP theory, as it identified the tactic, as stated above, to establish ports in various countries in South Asia. India, to counter this move, reacted by heavily investing in military infrastructure in states that it was previously hesitant to invest in.[34] The biggest flaw of this move was the inability to see the adverse reaction of the political forces within these countries. In the Seychelles, the question around the Assumption Island continues to linger, as the opposition sees India as a domineering power that will look to gain control of the local economy and conduct military operations at the base;[35] a general perception that was often attributed to China because of its ‘debt trap’ approach to international relations with smaller countries. Furthermore, India’s lack of ‘hard’ initiative during the coup in the Maldives in early 2018 also hampered India’s image as being a security provider of the region, considering the vested and prominent interests of China of having a pro-China/anti-India government at the helm of the archipelagic state.[36] It also violated precedence when India aided the Maldives government during a previously attempted coup in 1988.[37]

India has indulged in symbolism and power projections to govern the discourse around its interests and, as the latest developments show, its image has taken a negative turn. Both in the Maldives and the Seychelles, the pro-Chinese side of the aisle needs to be addressed, where India needs to highlight the living example of what indulging the Chinese in its economic ‘benevolence’ could look like, as in the case of Sri Lanka.[38] The general anti-India stance in the Assumption Islands has been about not sharing or giving control to India, but India has always been a normative operator and has never approached maritime relations with other states with the outlook of unilateral growth.[39] A common trend in the discourse around India’s involvement in the Maldives and theSeychelles has been about how the Chinese would react, and it epitomises how dire the situation in India’s own backyard has become, and not to China’s credit. Neither has China acknowledged establishing the SoP, a hypothesis that academic circles in India and the West have created under the SoP theory, and nor has China given any evidence of the assumed opposition Beijing would have to strong relations of these IOR countries with India. The ambiguity has allowed the Chinese to bury their operations and functions under layers of hypothesis. Despite these continuous and large strides that China has made, often at the cost of India losing strategic control, the South Asian country still enjoys a bold voice in the affairs of the region.[40] India’s protest and support alike have yielded tangible results; when a Chinese submarine was allowed to dock in Sri Lanka in October 2014, it drew vehement protests from India, and in turn, after the realisation of Chinese motive behind operations in Sri Lanka, and previous Indian protests, Colombo refused to allow a Chinese submarine to dock at the next instance.[41]

Most importantly, the Indian approach to securing its interests in its first sphere of influence, the IOR,[42] must be driven by a fundamental policy doctrine rather than as reactionary tactics to another (regionally) alien state’s behaviour. The Chinese intention is not clearly known by India, or as seen with Sri Lanka, and it is not completely known by the states the East Asian giant is interacting with either. The Indian foreign initiative should not be answering or responding to hypotheses and events of display of thealleged Chinese intention, but primarily establishing and clearly marking out its initiatives and intentions to the states within its sphere of influence on a bilateral level with special focus on the joint benefit of their colluding and enjoying the support of India in its own backyard. India needs to invest heavily in strengthening maritime relations with all the states that may or may not be within the aegis of this theory. The countries that are present within its first sphere of influence[43] should be the basis of a security regime that perfectly complements the principle of a net security provider, and this development must occur devoid of any geopolitical developments or actions of another third party country that is not physically present in the region. A strong strand of faith and bonafide relationship needs to be created between thecountries in the IOR and India, and that will only be made possible by a pre-emptive approach to creating stronger relations with these countries for the sole bilateral benefit of the parties involved, without any influence of the behaviour of China. This change should not give room for lagging behind on keeping a tight vigil on Chinese behaviour;[44] the rejection of the militarist nature of SoP theory does not dilute the preponderant threat of possible Chinese hostilities or offensive intentions. The initiative to encourage such developments must occur under the auspices (of the evolution) of India’s defensive realist approach to international relations whilst still retaining the fundamental values of cooperation, soft power, and diplomacy.

Indo-Sino Relations in context of the Security Dilemma

Indo-Sino relations especially with regard to the SoP have been largely governed by a security dilemma sensibility, yet its structure is not that of a traditional security dilemma. The dilemma has extended itself to a third party in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Cold War machinations. Off the face of it, it is apparent to any observer that the relationship between the two states has been driven by ‘tit for tat’ attempts to encroach on the other’s immediate sphere of influence, such as the ‘Necklace of Diamonds’—the alleged Indian answer to the ‘String of Pearls’ which includes ‘diamonds’ such as India’s permanent berthing rights in the Nha Trang port in Vietnam, and the Indian presence in Mauritius.[45] However, it is imprudent to view this relationship with blinkers on.

Source: “India’s Necklace of Diamonds—Garlanding China,” The True Picture, October 12, 2018. Accessed November 13, 2018. https://www.thetruepicture.org/india-china-relations-india-china-military-india-attack-china/. 

Scholars have been keen to point out that while India regards China as its primary rival in the region, China has not been eager to grant the same station to India.[46] The Chinese do, however, “obsessively worry” about the possibility of India being used as a “strategic counterweight” by greater powers.[47] So, while the dilemma in New Delhi is fuelled by the actions of Beijing, the latter is more concerned with the possibility of India being used as a pawn in a greater game which would see China engaged in a conflict with a pre-eminent superpower(s). This unconventional characteristic of the dilemma has forced upon India an even more convoluted configuration which makes the possible resolution of the security dilemma yet more difficult. There also lies the possibility of India allying with other states to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific, and this notion was manufactured into reality in 2007 when India, the United States, Japan, and Australia banded together to form the ‘Quad.’[48] The Chinese responded to the threat of interference in its backyard by issuing demarches to the states involved which subsequently led to the dismantling of the ‘Quad.’[49] Much to Beijing’s chagrin, the ‘Asian NATO,’[50] as it has been touted, saw a revival a decade after it was originally formed,[51] and for all its lack of specificity and coherence of objectives remains a distinct, albeit implicit, counter to Chinese influence in the region feeding to the anxiety of the policymakers in China. The reboot of the Quad comes at a different time in Chinese policy than it did it the first time; Chinese maritime objectives are more overtly ambitious than they were in 2007.

China’s attitude toward international regulations and international law in the past has created an atmosphere of unease, which when inevitably viewed in New Delhi through the lens of the 1962 Indo-China war, propels it into an environment of paranoia and mistrust that seems to justify measures of a realpolitik nature. The paranoia is further intensified by the thesis of the SOP theory that readily and selectively feeds into the assumptions of policymakers in New Delhi. The security dilemma, like most others, is encouraged by a slew of dangerous perceptions by the elite and, indeed, even the general public on either side, with a study by the Washington Pew Research Centre stating that 62 percent of the Chinese people hold an unfavourable view of Indians, and only 23 percent of Indians view their relationship with China as one of cooperation.[52]

It is important to note here that the SoP theory does not clearly highlight what the Chinese will be gaining by encircling and militarising their ports—which would be clearly visible to the international community—apart from the strategic ‘upper hand.’ To achieve this ambitious objective, they would have to invest an immense amount of money, manpower, and coordinate multiple bilateral diplomatic tracks over a long period of time that could span decades.[53] Furthermore, the Chinese would be risking a series of hostile counter actions by India and the United States to negate such strategic growth. By applying the fundamental principles of security dilemma sensibility, it can be seen that the Chinese are primarily operating for their own benefit and security—the operations undertaken by China have in no way been confirmed or tangibly demonstrated to be hostile towards India’s interests and/or sovereignty.[54] Chinese foreign policy toward the South Asian countries is driven by domestic concerns such as oil and energy imports and the development of its western provinces.[55] It would be without foundation to assume that these ports—that are undoubtedly important for China’s foreign policy objectives—would turn into hostile Chinese outfits solely for the purpose of undermining Indian interests, as then these ports would inherently be at the risk of being compromised by the powerful retaliatory forces of India.

The SoP theory strictly compartmentalises the offensive realist element of the Chinese maritime interests, not taking into account the various common grounds and enemies on which India and China must cooperate to ensure the protection of their mutual interests. Both these countries have prioritised the protection of the sea lanes of communication from non-traditional threats such as piracy and maritime terrorism. It has been noted that greater security and the protection of the IOR is a prime necessity for their national progress;[56] a ground on which both these countries can cooperate on.[57] The two South Asian giants have at moments displayed crucial cooperation on the international forum especially on issues of environmental concern such as during the Copenhagen Round (2009),[58] and their collective stance for the benefit of the developing states at the World Trade Organization’s Doha Development Trade Talks.[59] These instances serve as an important reminder of what the two are capable of together, and that the operation of policies under the aegis of the SoP theory threatens to undo the potential for amity and impede future cooperation.

India continues to stay suspicious of the Chinese activities addressing non-traditional issues but that is a normal occurrence in the security dilemma between these two countries.[60] The ever changing nature of the relations between the two countries creates a volatile environment in the current status quo, and if it is to change for the better, cooperation on tackling non-traditional issues would be one of the fundamental frontiers.

The authors researched and wrote this article in the summer of 2018 during their internship with the Research Centre for Eastern and North Eastern Regional Studies in Calcutta.

Ryan Mitra is a third-year undergraduate student at the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, School of Liberal Studies, majoring in International Relations. His areas of interest are diplomacy, maritime relations, nuclear strategy, and Indian foreign policy. He is a co-author, with Japish S. Gill, of “India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: Understanding India’s Spheres of Influence,” in the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations, and the paper, “India’s Growing Maritime Opportunities in Indonesia: Room for Development in Diplomacy and Capacity Building,” in the forthcoming 2018-19 winter journal of the National Maritime Foundation. Ryan aims to pursue a Master’s in International Relations/Affairs and Diplomacy in 2020.

Japish Singh Gill is currently in the final year of his under-graduate degree at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, School of Liberal Studies, majoring in International Relations. He is a co-author, with Ryan Mitra, of “India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: Understanding India’s Spheres of Influence,” in the Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations, and the paper, “India’s Growing Maritime Opportunities in Indonesia: Room for Development in Diplomacy and Capacity Building,” in the forthcoming 2018-19 winter journal of the National Maritime Foundation. He aims to pursue a Master’s in International Affairs and Diplomacy in 2019.


[1] Ken Booth and Nicholas J. Wheeler, The Security Dilemma: Fear, Cooperation and Trust in World Politics (New Delhi: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 4.

[2] Muhammad Salman Ahmad, Fahad Asmi, Madad Ali, et al., “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: In the context of ‘String of Pearl Strategy’,” International Journal of Business and Social Research 7, no.8 (2017): 28.

[3] “China Builds Up Strategic Sea Lanes,” The Washington Times, January 17, 2005.Accessed 12 October, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/jan/17/20050117-115550-1929r.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Christopher D. Yung and Ross Rustici, Not an Idea We Have to Shun’: Chinese Overseas Basing Requirements in the 21st Century,” China Strategic Perspectives 7 (2014): 7.

[6] Muhammad Salman Ahmad, et al., “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” 29.

[7] Shihar Aneez and Ranga Srilal, “Sri Lanka rejects Chinese requests for submarine visit,” Reuters, May 11, 2017. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://in.reuters.com/article/sri-lanka-china-submarine/sri-lanka-rejects-chinese-request-for-submarine-visit-sources-idINKBN1871PB.

[8] Dipanjan Roy Chaudhary, “Bumpy road awaits China as Maldives ousts Yameen,” The Economic Times, September 24, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/bumpy-road-ahead-awaits-china-as-maldives-ousts-yameen/articleshow/65937102.cms.

[9] Yung, “Not an Idea We Have to Shun,” 47.

[10] Ibid, 28.

[11] “China Builds Up,”Washington Times.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Japish S. Gill and Ryan Mitra, “India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: Understanding India’s Spheres of Influence,” Sigma Iota Rho Journal of International Relations, July 5, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2018. http://www.sirjournal.org/research/2018/7/5/indias-indo-pacific-strategy-understanding-indias-spheres-of-influence.

[14] Benjamin David Baker, “Where is the ‘String of Pearls’ in 2015?,” The Diplomat, October 5, 2015. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2015/10/where-is-the-string-of-pearls-in-2015/.

[15] Shihar Aneez and Ranga Srilal, “Chinese submarine docks in Sri Lanka despite Indian concerns,” Reuters, November 2, 2014. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/sri-lanka-china-submarine/chinese-submarine-docks-in-sri-lanka-despite-indian-concerns-idINKBN0IM0LU20141102.

[16] Ankit Panda, “Sri Lanka Formally Hands Over Hambantota Port to Chinese Firms on 99-Year Lease,” The Diplomat, December 11, 2017. Accessed October 12, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/sri-lanka-formally-hands-over-hambantota-port-to-chinese-firms-on-99-year-lease/.

[17] Sam Parker and Gabrielle Chefitz, “China’s Debtbook Diplomacy: How China is Turning Bad Loans into Strategic Investments,” The Diplomat, May 30, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2018/06/chinas-debtbook-diplomacy-how-china-is-turning-bad-loans-into-strategic-investments/.

[18] Muhammad Salman Ahmad, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” 29.

[19] Chietigj Bajpaee, “China-India Regional Dimensions of the Bilateral Relationship,” Strategic Studies Quarterly 9, no. 4 (2015): 119.

[20] Anthony Sterioti, “The Significance of China’s ‘String of Pearls Strategy,’” April 9, 2017. Accessed October 11, 2018. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2951903.

[21] B.A. Humzah, “Alleviating China’s Malacca Dilemma,” Institute for Security & Development Policy, March 13, 2013. Accessed October 11, 2018. http://isdp.eu/alleviating-chinas-malacca-dilemma/.

[22] Humzah, “Alleviating China’s Malacca Dilemma.”

[23] Yung, “Not an Idea We Have to Shun,” 5.

[24] Press Trust of India, “Hambantota port not a military base for foreign countries: Sri Lanka PM,” Indian Express, September 1, 2017. Accessed on October 13, 2018. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/hambantota-port-not-a-military-base-for-foreign-countries-sri-lanka-pm-4823731/.

[25] Rajeshwari Pillai Rajagopalan, “A New China Military Base in Pakistan?,” The Diplomat, February 9, 2018. Accessed on October 13, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2018/02/a-new-china-military-base-in-pakistan/.  

[26] Rajagopalan, “A New China Military Base.”

[27] Maleehah Iman Ali, “The implications of China’s ‘String of Pearls Strategy’ on relations with Indian Ocean nations,” (UG diss., Lingnan University, 2013).

[28] David Brewster, “India: Regional Net Security Provider,” Ministry of External Affairs, November 5, 2013. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://mea.gov.in/articles-in-indian-media.htm?dtl/22468/India+Regional+net+security+provider.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Jamie Tarabay, “With Sri Lankan port acquisition, China adds another ‘pearl’ to its ‘string’,” CNN, February 5, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2018. https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/03/asia/china-sri-lanka-string-of-pearls-intl/index.html.

[32] Ali, “The implications of China’s ‘String of Pearls Strategy’.”

[33] Ahmad, Asmi, Ali, et al., “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: In the context of ‘String of Pearl Strategy.’”

[34] Abhishek Mishra, “Has India’s Plan to Build a Military Base in Seychelles Stalled?” The Diplomat, March 29, 2018. Accessed on October 13, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2018/03/has-indias-plan-to-build-a-military-base-in-seychelles-stalled.

[35] Mishra, “India’s Plan to Build a Military Base.”

[36] Sunaina Kumar and Angela Stanzel, “The Maldives Crisis and the China-India Chess Match,” The Diplomat, March 15, 2019. Accessed on October 13, 2018, https://thediplomat.com/2018/03/the-maldives-crisis-and-the-china-india-chess-match.

[37] Kumar, “The Maldives Crisis.”

[38] Tarabay, “China adds another ‘pearl’ to its ‘string.’”

[39] Brewster, “India: Net Security.”

[40] Alex Vines, “Mesmerised by the Chinese string of pearls theory,” The World Today 68, no. 2 (February and March 2012): 34.

[41] Yigal Chazan, “India and China’s Tug of War Over Sri Lanka,” The Diplomat, May 23, 2017. Accessed on 13 October, 2018. https://thediplomat.com/2017/05/india-and-chinas-tug-of-war-over-sri-lanka.

[42] Gill and Mitra, “India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.”

[43] Ibid.

[44] Tarabay, “China adds another ‘pearl’ to its ‘string.’”

[45] Bajpaee, “China-India Regional Dimensions,” 124.

[46] Tarabay, “China adds another ‘pearl’ to its ‘string.’”

[47] Minxin Pei, “Dangerous Misperceptions: Chinese Views of India’s Rise,” Center for the Advanced Study of India, May 23, 2011. Accessed October 13, 2018.https://casi.ssc.upenn.edu/iit/pei. 

[48] Tanvi Madan, “The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the ‘Quad’,” War on The Rocks, November 16, 2017. Accessed on October 18, 2018. https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/rise-fall-rebirth-quad/.

[49] David Brewster, “The Australia-India Security Declaration: The Quadrilateral Redux?,” Security Challenges 6, no. 1 (2010): 03. 

[50] Madan, “The Rise, Fall.”

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ali, “The implications of China’s ‘String of Pearls Strategy.’”

[53] Yung, “Not an Idea We Have to Shun,” 47.

[54] Baker, “Where is the ‘String of Pearls’ in 2015?”

[55] Ahmad, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” 32.

[56] Patrick Mendis, “The Colombo-Centric New Silk Road,” Economic and Political Weekly 47, no. 49 (2012): 72.

[57] Olivia Gippner, “Antipiracy and Unusual Coalitions in the Indian Ocean Region: China’s Changing Role and Confidence Building with India,” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 43, no. 3 (2016): 129.

[58] Ali, “The implications of China’s ‘String of Pearls Strategy.’”

[59] Ibid.

[60] Gippner, “Antipiracy and Unusual Coalitions in the Indian Ocean Region.”