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 U.S.-Soviet Scramble for Hegemony in South Asian Subcontinent and Indian Ocean

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U.S.-Soviet Scramble for Hegemony in South Asian Subcontinent and Indian Ocean

Source: Peking Review, No. 2 (January 14, 1972), pp. 16-17.
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org

The two superpowers have beefed up their military strength in the Indian Ocean. The Soviet revisionists see India's war of aggression against Pakistan as a good opportunity to expand and consolidate their sphere of influence in the South Asian subcontinent and Indian Ocean. The scramble for this area between the United States and the Soviet Union will become ever fiercer in the days to come.
 U.S. imperialism is planning to reinforce its military power in the Indian Ocean in the wake of the armed invasion and occupation of East Pakistan by the Indian reactionaries with the support of Soviet revisionist social-imperialism. There are indications that these two overlords are stepping up their maneuvers in their scramble for the South Asian subcontinent and the Indian Ocean.


U.S. IMPERIALISM STRENGTHENS POWER

U.S. imperialism has constantly sent warships into the Indian Ocean and, in collusion with Britain, has speeded up construction of military installations on the strategic Island of Diego Garcia. When the Indian reactionaries launched the war of aggression against Pakistan with Soviet revisionist social-imperialism's support last November, the United States regarded this as a major "challenge" to its "interests" in the area and sent warships, including "the world's largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise," to "show the flag" in the Bay of Bengal.
   U.S. Defense Department spokesman Terry Friedheim announced on January 6 that the U.S. Navy task force built around the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Enterprise will remain indefinitely in the Indian Ocean. Asked how long that naval force would remain there, he said, "An end date does not exist at the moment." He added that one of the reasons in keeping the taks force there was to enable the ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet to get more "experience" operating in the Indian Ocean.
 The Pentagon spokesman emphasized that the U.S. military authorities have "always regarded the Indian Ocean as an important and strategic part of the world." He added, "We are interested in the area. I think it could be anticipated that Seventh Fleet naval vessels would operate more frequently there."
 Friedheim also announced that beginning January 1, "responsibility" for the Indian Ocean was switched from the U.S. Navy's Atlantic Command to the Pacific Command. He pointed out emphatically that "this particular deployment of forces there was obviously related to the international situation on the (South Asian) subcontinent."
 Friedheim also confirmed reports that the United States has taken over parts of the British naval station at Bahrain in the Persian Gulf area, where the U.S. Middle East task force is based. A U.S. Navy announcement said that these actions "manifest the continuing strong interest of the United States in the (Persian) Gulf." A UPI dispatch said, "All these actions appeared part of a new determination to strengthen the U.S. naval presence in the Indian Ocean, prompted in part by British withdrawal from east of Suez and in part by the Soviet Union's constant presence of twelve to fifteen ships in the area."
 William Mack, Commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, said on January 6 that his fleet will "keep in a high state of readiness" and will increase its shadowing of Soviet ships in the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

SOVIET REVISIONISTS DON OLD TSARS' MANTLE

The Russian tsars had dreamt of sending their navy into the Indian Ocean to ensure for Russia "free sea lanes" to the various oceans. Russian Tsar Peter I had said, "Water space—that is what Russia needs." Donning the mantle of the old tsars, the Soviet revisionist leading clique ambitiously set out on its expansionist activities in the Indian Ocean long ago with the aim of establishing a sea lane arch stretching from the Black Sea to the Japan Sea through the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific, linking Europe, Asia and Africa, in order to attain sea hegemony. Since Brezhnev took office, Soviet revisionism has tried to get hold of the right to use naval bases and ports of certain countries on the shores °f the Indian Ocean by providing "economic aid" and "military aid" and other bait.
 The Soviet Union's Pacific Fleet and Black Sea Fleet began intruding into the Indian Ocean in 1965 under the signboard of "visits."
 Since 1968, Soviet fleets have "visited" almost every country on the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, West Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Soviet naval vessels, disguised as fishing boats, and electronic spy ships, made up as trawlers or oceanic scientific research ships, were often sent to certain countries along the coast of the Indian Ocean to engage in criminal activities-— stealing military and oceanic information.
 A Soviet fleet, which took part in Soviet global naval maneuvers in 1970, began to be stationed permanently in the Indian Ocean in 1969.
 A formation of cruisers of the Soviet Pacific Fleet showed up in the Indian Ocean and carried out a military exercise there in 1971.
 To turn India into an important base for its expansion in the Indian Ocean, Soviet revisionism has been hard at work bolstering up the Indian reactionaries for years. In 1968, the Soviet Union purchased with a number of aircraft the right for the Soviet Pacific Fleet to sail to Madras and Bombay and, at the same time, gave India several naval vessels in exchange for the right to use some of her naval bases.
 To meet its design for expansion in the Indian Ocean, Soviet revisionism, by making use of India's expansionist ambitions, has abetted the Indian reactionaries in constantly carrying out armed provocations against other Asian countries.
 Soviet revisionism regarded India's recent war of aggression against Pakistan as a good opportunity to further its control of India and step up its expansion in the Indian Ocean and its contention with U.S. imperialism for hegemony. The Japanese paper Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the Soviet Union considers "the prevailing Indo-Pakistan situation a golden opportunity to realize its Indian Ocean strategy," which is to use India as a "pawn" to "ensure a passage through the Indian Ocean for expansion in Southeast Asia." "The Soviet Union has acquired the possibility of establishing political and military operational bases in India," opening a "wide lane" for Soviet fleets in their "expansion from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean," the paper added. A Western news agency noted that Soviet revisionism's backing for India's armed occupation of East Pakistan "could give Moscow a privileged position in the Bay of Bengal."
 When U.S. imperialism dispatched an aircraft carrier and other warships from the Seventh Fleet to the Bay of Bengal, the Soviet social-imperialists countered by also moving cruisers and other warships from their Pacific Fleet into the bay. Kyodo news Agency in Japan reported that some twenty-seven Soviet warships have been deployed in the Indian Ocean, reinforced by three of the four missile warships in the Soviet Pacific fleet. This is a Soviet "show of force," it said. The Times of India reported on December 16 that the Soviet Union had moved "units of its powerful naval fleet into the Bay of Bengal" and that "the Soviet move is obviously a response" to the U.S. action "in sending out a task force of its Seventh Fleet into the area."
 Soviet revisionism recently accused U.S. imperialism of pursuing a "gunboat policy," declaring that "the Indian Ocean is not an American lake." But at the same time it regards the Indian Ocean as a Soviet "lake" and frantically followed a social-imperialist "gunboat policy" by sending its own task force there. The reason is that the scramble between U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism for domination over the Indian Ocean has intensified.

VOICE OF MEDIUM-SIZED AND SMALL COUNTRIES

Aggression and expansion in the Indian Ocean by U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism have long aroused strong discontent and opposition from the medium-sized and small countries of Asia and Africa. The leaders of Ceylon, Pakistan and Zambia have strongly denounced the superpowers for increasing their military forces and establishing military bases in the Indian Ocean, thereby threatening the security of the countries in the region. Ceylon's Prime Minister Mrs. Bandaranaike has advanced a program for a peace zone in the Indian Ocean. She pointed out in her proposal, "Recent reports point to an increasing naval presence of Soviet and U.S. fleets in the Indian Ocean. Another disturbing development is militarization of the Indian Ocean." She criticized "direct or indirect intervention by superpowers in the internal affairs of states." This proposal °f Ceylon's Prime Minister is supported by other countries.
 As our great leader Chairman Mao teaches us, "The imperialist wolves must remember that gone forever are the days when they could rule the fate of mankind at will and could do what ever they liked with the Asian and African countries." The affairs of the South Asian subcontinent can only be handled by the peoples of the subcontinent, and the Indian Ocean area affairs can only be handled by the peoples of the area. No domination or carving up of the area by U.S. imperialism and Soviet revisionism will be tolerated. Their interference and aggression in the area will only arouse the people of the area to rise against them, and their schemes of aggression and expansion are bound to end in utter defeat.

  
  
  

 
 
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