China’s neo-colonial expansionist dreams under the fulcrum of it lies in the absolute domination of the international waters, is partly the reason why the paper dragon goes out of its way to assert dominance in the South China Sea and simultaneously sends its navy militia boats masquerading as fishing boats to places as far as Ecuador. China has been trying to dominate the global shipping arena also, but, its ambition is being culled by Greece which enjoys a commandeering position in the high seas.
Several news reports state that Greece and its Greek owners remain the dominant force in global shipping. The current value of their owned fleet stands at almost exactly $100bn, putting the country at the top of the table. The value is concentrated in the Tanker ($36bn), Bulker ($35.75bn), and LNG ($13.5) vessel types. Hellenic control of these markets stands at about 19% of the total worth of the fleets.
China understands that being a dominant force in the shipping industry will allow it to reach countries wide and afar. It will also allow the rogue state to enhance its espionage activities which form the bedrock of its nefarious plans of capturing any territory, or for that matter, any country.
China which has been trying hard to catch up but the gargantuan volume of the pie that Greece enjoys is not letting it get ahead in the race. The economic pundits have predicted that the strong commitment of Greece to the global shipping markets looks unlikely to change as Greek owners, with their sharp focus on commercial results, continue to lead the pack for the foreseeable future.
Moreover, the second name on the list is Japan, India’s other ally, and it will not be conceding an inch to China, which historically has been an enemy of the Japanese state.
And now Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, with an eye to revive the Indian ship building industry, has asked all major ports to procure or charter tug boats that are made in India.
India has 12 major ports — Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (Ennore), VO Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) — that handle about 61 per cent of the country’s total cargo traffic and giving a kick-start to them will help the country to thwart any Chinese belligerence in the sector that is of paramount importance to a country’s economy.
State-run oil companies have already decided to stop chartering tankers owned or operated by Chinese companies even if the vessels are registered under third-country flags.
The latest move throws vessels with any China connection out of the ring. For limited tenders, the companies will not invite bids from Chinese shipping entities previously registered with them.
The power ministry had earlier banned the import of Chinese equipment needed for generation, transmission and distribution projects that are manufactured in India. It also laid down a strict quality and malware testing norm for equipment allowed to be imported.
India is not only causing heavy losses to the Chinese oil companies but also creating far-reaching repercussions when it comes to the equity stakes of Chinese companies in oil fields around the world.
In nutshell, India is weaponizing its status as the world’s third-largest oil consumer and importer. Moreover, the Indian oil refining sector is dominated by state-owned companies– Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum– in refining as well as distribution. 60 per cent of India’s 5 million barrel-per-day refining capacity is dominated by the State-owned companies and now they are being used as a strategic tool to punish China.
Countries around the world are waking up to the fact that China wants to dominate the world shipping routes and has been investing billions in it. However, with Greece enjoying unparalleled dominance in the sector and Japan being a close second, Beijing has its task cut out. Addition to it is the impetus given to the Indian shipping industry to compete with the Chinese competition, it seems like the Xi Jinping authoritarian regime is being cornered from all areas.