Defense News reports that Pakistan is planning a new force to protect its ports and Exclusive Economic Zone. There are few details except that it should have 12,000 members. There is speculation that it will incorporate the existing Maritime Safety Agency which is a maritime agency under control of the Navy and their existing Coast Guard which is a shore-side agency under control of the Army.
I can only think of one reason that nations like China, and now Pakistan, would choose to build up their Coast Guard forces during a time of increased military and diplomatic tension in the region, as opposed to spending the same money on building up their naval forces: might it be so that a proxy war can be fought in the South China Sea using what are obstensibly police and law enforcement assets and thus, avoid a technical escalation into a ‘proper’ war involving ‘proper’ military forces?
Or am I talking rubbish?
If you send your police force to fight the other guy’s police force, are you at war with him or are you simply involved in a violent ‘police action’ on your borders?
I think you are dead-on with regard to China, They don’t want to be first user of military force which might bring in the US. Still the Chinese military is always in the background, and that tends to intimidate the other smaller nations. That means they probably will not be challenged anyway.
Pakistan is probably a bit different in that they are not the big dog in the Indian Ocean. India is. They probably want to be able to confront Indian agencies and civilians without using military force. Pakistan’s position is closer to that of Vietnam or the Philippines. They, of course, are also beefing up their Coast Guards.
It will be interesting to see if this new organization includes SAR responsibilities like the USCG, or only enforcement responsibilities like the Chinese CG.
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