10 November 2018
China’s overt offshore military presence has grown in recent years. These activities vary, ranging from operating the first Chinese overseas military facility in Djibouti to conducting patrols in the Indian Ocean. However, China has long used its extensive arms industry as a way to gain footholds – even if just through minor links. Their sales of drones are a clear example of this.
Most armed drones today are built by the United States, China, and Israel. The United States mostly sells to NATO allies, increasing the interoperability and common supply chains within the alliance. U.S. sales to India are an attempt at supplanting Russia’s influence – part of the larger U.S. focus on Asia, including countering China. Israeli provision of drones to India are part of a larger defense cooperation between the two, while their exports to Azerbaijan provides a presence just north of the largest regional rival, Iran.
…Henrik Paulsson is a researcher with the Military Transformations Program at RSIS in Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 10/12/2018