(TibetanReview.net, Apr13’23) – Apart from renaming places in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, China has given its own names to international undersea features as well, including in the Indian Ocean Region most recently, reported the swarajyamag.com Apr 12. The Indian Ocean Region areas have been named after Chinese musical instruments.
China has previously objected to the term “Indian Ocean”, saying the ocean is not India’s.
The report noted that while China had earlier renamed undersea features in other maritime regions, this is the first time that the People’s Liberation Army Navy has made public that it has done so in the Indian Ocean Region.
The report said a PLA official had referred to this exercise as an example of China’s “soft power”.
“The PLA Navy has completed work on naming five seabed places in the international waters of the Indian Ocean, making a total of nine seabed place names in the international waters of the Indian Ocean,” China’s national broadcaster CCTV’s military channel was reported as saying in late March.
Some of the renamed places were stated to include Huapengu (Flowerpot Drum) sea knoll, Tang Drum sea knoll, fishing drum sea knoll waist drum seamount, among others.
While a seamount is a large underwater volcanic mountain, sea a knoll is a smaller volcanic mountain.
The report said the Chinese state media report, however, did not share the precise location of one of these features while the location of the other four features were entirely unknown.
The report noted that China’s interest in the Indian Ocean Region had been growing in the last few years. And its “String of Pearls” strategy of encircling India through a network of strategic bases and ports in the Indian Ocean has been a concern for quite some time.
Apart from sending spy ships to ports it had acquired from neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, China has been expanding its secretive base in the Coco Islands — a Myanmar archipelago near the Northern Andaman Islands.
Undersea mining has also been an area of keen interest to China in recent years.