Sun, 29 Jan 2023

Geneva [Switzerland], December 2 (ANI): Chinese militarization of artificially created islands in the South China Sea is threatening the geomorphologic stability of the region.

China's militarization of 20 outposts in the Paracel Islands and seven in the Spratly Islands in the contested South China Sea (SCS) over the last decade has been an issue of grave concern, not only for the countries of the region but for all those that advocate the importance of freedom of navigation, reported The Geneva Daily.

Closer studies reveal that these military outposts, in reality, may not be as formidable as they seem. A major limitation of these artificially created islands is their geomorphologic stability. Having been built in haste, no proper structural feasibility and environmental impact assessments were made prior to their construction.

Resultantly, the service life of the concrete structures in the SCS is estimated to be less than 25 years due to the severe corrosive nature of the water and weather of SCS, reported The Geneva Daily.

Another issue is the uninhabitable factor, leaving the outposts under-populated, despite their scale and facilities.

While the shortage of freshwater resources, including potable water, is a definite impediment, studies have also revealed that the islands pose a grave challenge to the physical and mental well-being of its long-term inhabitants.

A 2019 report investigating and analyzing the health needs of officers and soldiers on the Spratly islands found that the military officials there had a high monthly morbidity rate i.e. incidences of health issues, which ranged from joint pain, skin diseases and dental diseases to respiratory infections, gastrointestinal ailments, and head and neck issues, reported The Geneva Daily.

Additionally, psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, etc. are common, presumably due to the remoteness of the bases. China is carrying out many studies on physical and mental agility in SCS, indicating that it is a matter of concern for the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Besides, there are other operational vulnerabilities that the PLA recognizes as well. Situated afar from the mainland, these islands can become easy targets of hostile cruise missiles.

Also, in the event of interdiction, the provision of resupplies by air or sea could be a challenge. Thus, in case of a conflict, the military utility of these bases would diminish rapidly.

Such factors make it seem that these military outposts, built in haste in the SCS, are merely white elephants reported The Geneva Daily.

Though these military outposts in SCS are, in practice, serving the purpose of promoting Chinese hegemony in the region, can they stand the test of time and prove their operational utility, when actual conflict breaks out? only time will tell. (ANI)

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