Tom Shugart, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank, said: "While we don't have any direct indications of intentions to specifically gain submarine bases on the Indian Ocean, it does seem clear that China has a strategy of building a hybrid set of general purpose naval bases, like Djibouti, along with ostensibly commercial -- but most likely dual-purpose -- facilities in places like Gwadar (Pakistan), Hambantota (Sri Lanka) and Tanzania."
Naturally, not all things go as the planners in Beijing envision. A deal to deliver a Yuan-class diesel submarine to Thailand, for instance, has stalled because Germany has refused to sell the quiet MTU396 engines the Chinese had promised to install in the boat, due to an arms embargo. The Chinese side has offered to replace them with its homegrown engine, but the Thais have yet to come to a conclusion. China has also sold submarines to Pakistan and Bangladesh, but whether the economic conditions of these countries will allow them to maintain an expensive submarine fleet -- and collaborate with China -- is far from clear.
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