New Delhi: China has likely considered a number of countries including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Seychelles as locations for People’s Liberation Army (PLA) facilities.
China is seeking to establish a more robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure to allow the PLA to project and sustain military power at greater distances.
Beyond its base in Djibouti, the PRC is pursuing additional military facilities to support naval, air, ground, cyber, and space power projection. The PRC has likely considered a number of countries, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan, as locations for PLA facilities. The PRC has probably already made overtures to Namibia.
A global PLA military logistics network and PLA military facilities could both interfere with US military operations and support offensive operations against the United States as the PRC’s global military objectives evolve, a US Defence Department report said.
China is seeking to establish a more robust overseas logistics and basing infrastructure to allow the PLA to project and sustain military power at greater distances. Beijing may assess that a mixture of military logistics models, including preferred access to commercial infrastructure abroad, exclusive PLA logistics facilities with prepositioned supplies colocated with commercial infrastructure, and bases with stationed forces, most closely aligns with the PRC’s overseas military logistics needs.
Currently, the PRC uses commercial infrastructure to support all of its military operations abroad, including the PLA’s presence in other countries’ territories, such as at its base in Djibouti.
Some of the PRC’s OBOR projects could create potential military advantages, such as PLA access to selected foreign ports to pre-position the necessary logistics support to sustain naval deployments in waters as distant as the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean to protect its growing interests.
As a means of creating numerous options, the PRC is attempting to develop access in multiple African countries on the continent’s Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Mediterranean coasts.
PRC military academics assert that bases abroad can enable forward deployment of PLA forces and support military conflict, diplomatic signaling, political change, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and training. They also suggest that a military logistics network could enable intelligence monitoring of the US military, the report said.
Beyond its base in Djibouti, China is very likely already considering and planning for additional military bases and logistics facilities to support naval, air, and ground forces projection. The PLA’s approach likely includes consideration of many different sites and outreach to many countries, but only some will advance to negotiations for an infrastructure agreement, status of forces or visiting forces agreement, and/or basing agreement.
Critical organizations involved in planning and negotiating for military logistics facilities are the Central Military Commission (CMC) Joint Staff Department, CMC Logistic Support Department, and service headquarters. The PRC’s overseas military basing will be constrained by the willingness of potential host nations to support a PLA presence.