Battle for the Indian Ocean


Battle for the Indian Ocean

Two powers vie for control of one of the globe’s most strategic seaways.

A battle royal is emerging over control and strategic influence in the Indian Ocean. Two emerging powers are vying to fill the void that is inevitably going to be created in the wake of increasing U.S. weakness.

It is inevitable that America’s unsolvable economic woes are going to increasingly hit the bottom line in its military expenditures. No matter how impressive the multibillion-dollar Pentagon budgets sound, one thing is certain—they cannot remain sustainable for long given the rapidly tanking U.S. economy. With the very best of analysts agreeing that the U.S. administration has run out of workable options for resurrecting the nation’s fiscal viability, rising global powers are increasingly cocking a snook at the once dominant superpower.

By way of example, China and the European Union are both ramping up their presence at strategic locations dotted around the ocean that links the vital sea gates of the Strait of Malacca, the Cape of Good Hope and the Persian Gulf—the Indian Ocean.

Take a look at a map of the world. The Indian Ocean connects four of the great raw materials producers of the world—Africa, Australia, South America and the Middle East—with the regions that are the hungriest for those resources in terms of their massive combined industrial needs—China, Japan and the European Union. Increasingly, as we have observed in the past, China is taking possession or gaining a controlling interest in the major sea ports giving strategic access to the major seaways of the world.

Concerning Indian Ocean access, China is at present either strategically based at, leases or has financial and/or infrastructural interests in seaports in the following Indian Ocean ports: the Strait of Malacca, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Haian Island, Woody Island, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.

It becomes obvious that China is building up a seaport infrastructure to exert control over the seaways across which ships ply the oceans in enacting trade with the greatest single national market on Earth.

The latest of these should sound real warning bells to one of its chief suppliers of raw materials—Australia. A few weeks ago the strategic island nation of Timor revealed that it had signed a deal with China to build a military base on that island, which is situated only a few hundred miles off the northwest coast of Australia.

With Australia’s major population centered in the southeast of the country, its vast northern coastline lies largely unprotected by the nation’s comparatively small naval force. Australia’s security has always been challenged by the problem of how to defend its continental coastline with a force drawn from a population the size of greater Los Angeles spread across a landmass that approximates that of the United States. Australia survived the threat of invasion and occupation by Japan in World War ii only by dint of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s success in the Pacific campaign. Ever since, the globe’s largest island and smallest continent has depended on its big brother in Washington for security of the Pacific and Indian oceans, thus limiting the Asian threat from the north that is its greatest security challenge.

Now, at a time when China detects the waning of American power and the weakening of Australia, politically, as a result of its present ineffectual coalition government, it is prepared to openly march into one of Australia’s island neighbors—a nation which up to now has depended on Australia for its own tenuous security—and boldly publicize its intention to build a military base in Timor, right on Australia’s doorstep.

The fact that Timor is the sea gate that gives China direct access to Australia’s west coast, the coastline that bounds the largest diamond mines in the world, and some of the world’s largest deposits of coal and iron ore, will not be lost on military strategists. Not only that, a base in Timor consolidates China’s already significant presence at strategic passageways to the Indian Ocean.

Now, consider Germany, the engine of European economic growth, in relation to its Indian Ocean strategy.

“According to retired Vice Adm. Ulrich Weisser, the Indian Ocean holds ‘the key to the world’s seas, particularly the sea routes to the Pacific,’ and is particularly ‘decisive for the future power constellations in Asia, above all between India and China.’ The ‘maritime rivalry’ between those two countries ‘is beginning to be more in the forefront.’ Thanks to the war on pirates, the EU and nato naval forces are establishing their presence in the western Indian Ocean—from the German point of view, a geo-strategic advantage …” (, September 3).

Thus it becomes obvious that Germany under the twin umbrella of the EU and nato, is ramping up its naval presence in the Indian Ocean as a counter to China’s expansion into that region, and as a control on rising Indian power in the region.

This latest acknowledgment of Germany’s effort to establish an increasing presence in the Indian Ocean comes just one year after an earlier comment by the same German naval authority. “[T]he EU is expanding its zone of maritime intervention to include the Seychelles. A former head of the Policy and Planning Staff of the German Defense Ministry points out that the naval forces are operating in a region decisive for determining Asia’s power constellation—the Indian Ocean. According to this retired vice admiral, not only ‘piracy’ will be decided in this region, also the position China will hold in the future” (ibid., Nov. 20, 2009).

The Indian Ocean is a strategic entryway to the world’s sea routes to the Pacific and is of supreme importance to global trade.

In an earlier article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Nov. 17, 2009, Ulrich Weisser wrote that “Beijing has long since adapted to this situation and has quietly begun to use countermeasures. In the Indian Ocean, China is employing the so-called string of pearls strategy … to secure itself a growing number of harbors and bases around India.”

According to Weisser, “Beijing is constructing ‘an important naval base with extensive reconnaissance facilities’ in Gwadar (Pakistan), using the harbors in Pasni (Pakistan) and in Chittagong (Bangladesh) and is securing a bunker station for itself in Sri Lanka. In Myanmar, China is constructing docks for merchant and warships. This is making the Indian Navy ‘nervous,’ because it has its own hegemonic plans for the Indian Ocean. The ‘maritime rivalry’ between India and China ‘is coming more and more to the fore.’ … EU warships, including those from Germany, are establishing their presence in the western Indian Ocean …. In efforts to contain China, geo-strategists are placing a high priority on Western presence in this ocean—a small foretaste of conflicts to come” (op. cit., Nov. 20, 2009; emphasis mine).

Why is it important to watch developments in the Indian Ocean?

Simply because Bible prophecies foretell that two great powers, a rising northern (European) power and an expansionary Oriental power are destined to clash in a mighty battle for global supremacy in the not-too-distant future. That great battle will be but a forerunner to the mightiest battle of all that will be enjoined on the great plain of Megiddo in the Middle East—the long-awaited final great conflict that will consummate in the return of the Savior of mankind to this world to finally impose the peace between nations that no human government has ever been able to create.

Read our booklets Russia and China in Prophecy and Nahum: An End-Time Prophecy for Germany for more-detailed information on this coming conflict and its outcome.