Azores destiny unrevealed
New Delhi Times27.10.2014Read original
Azores, an island in the Atlantic Ocean, is an autonomous region of Portugal. Will it become one of the first large oversea military base of China?
There have been continuous visits from two global powers viz. US and China. US which has one of the biggest bases in Azores is seen to cynical of its presence on the piece of land. The island is economically dependent on the income through the deployed forces in the region. Ever since the fight against terrorism, former President of US George Bush deployed heavy armed personals in the region, but in time the importance of the region has reduced.
With growing concerns for US and cost cutting strategies of the Pentagon, there has been a supported decision of US forces evacuating the base of Lejas. With this news around, the Chinese have visited the island hoping to take over these bases as US evacuates. China’s interest in Lajes Field should be seen in this context, as well as in light of Beijing’s close relationship with the debt-ridden Portugal. […]
China’s potential ability to operate in the central Atlantic is directly connected with its drive for a prominent role in the seas around the North Pole – the shortest shipping route linking China and the North Atlantic passes through an ice-free Arctic Sea.
China has spectacular interest in the island; moreover the exit of US can be a reason of the growing Chinese popularity. China has not only limited its interest in the air base but is also involved in buying production facilities in working or non working condition so as to either provide employment to the populace or to show signs of its greater existence to the US. The island that provides geo strategic privileges would turn bias on the Chinese side if the economic dependency grows from US to China.
The Chinese investment comes in time when US is amid decision of shutting down its bases in Azores. China’s potential ability to operate in the central Atlantic is directly connected with its drive for a prominent role in the seas around the North Pole – the shortest shipping route linking China and the North Atlantic passes through an ice-free Arctic Sea.
If one sees the geographical influence of China it is easy to trace out that the country has benefitted from the strategic ties from countries where US had certain amount of occupation prior. Azores is just another name added to the list moreover its geostrategic importance lures the dragon. China seems to have taken the task of turning a global face in maintaining relations within countries, especially where US is on the verge of exit. The U.S. has had a presence in Lajes since World War II. It played a crucial role in the tracking of Soviet submarines during the Cold War. For the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, fighter, tanker and transport planes regularly stopped on the island.
The civilians of Azores in case wanted to invite Chinese on their land and if US bails out on the island, the economical prospect of the region would be in distress. Beijing is looking forward to achieve more support from the civilians and if so, the strategic position of China would change if the US plans to stay on the island which would reduce the impact of China over the Atlantic.