Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - April 17, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Wednesday, April 17, i nc L.C i nomuvic SOVIET UNION r .r Route from Russian Black Sea bases to Indian Ocean Diego Garcia Indian Ocean navy base vital political strategy say planners LONDON. England A small, five by-14 mile coral island almost dead centre in the Indian Ocean has become the subject of a growing international controversy. The island is Diego Garcia and the -nntroversy involves the I'm ted States' plan to transform the austere facilities on this British owned speck of land into the U.S. Navy's first permanent military base in the Indian Ocean. To justify the construction of a naval and air station on Diego Garcia. American naval planners use a variety of traditional arguments. They contend that Diego Garcia's location means that as a base, the island commands the Arabian Sea and thus the approaches to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf the vital oil lifelines of Europe and Japan. They also point to the increased number of Soviet warships in the area, a presence that is reported to have grown by a factor of four over the last five years Naval strategists also are concerned about the impact of the re-opening of the Suez Canal on the naval balance in the region, and argue that even without a permanent base in the area the Soviet Union will soon enjoy an important strategic advantage. According to these analysts, the long-term Soviet strategic aim is to secure freedom of access to the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf, in order to outflank the major- oil producing countries, and to extend Soviet influence into Asia But does all this talk of and "naval balances" make sense in an era of detente and when gunboat diplomacy is. at best, a relic of another age? In other words, are tne U.S. Navy's plans for Diego Garcia merely the prelude to a costly and futile naval arms race in the Indian Ocean? On the surface, there are compelling arguments to suggest this is the case. Naval power does appear to possess By RICHARD BURT Christian Science Monitor declining utility. Despite the formidable strength of the American Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, naval force was powerless to stop the Middle East oil boycott. Meanwhile, as Western critics of the U.S. Navy's plans for Diego Garcia are fond of arguing, the move to build up U.S power in the region will likely spur the Soviets to establish a permanent base of their own in the Indian Ocean, a move they have so far resisted. Two major American foreign policy interests are involved here. The first is wliat secretary of defense James R. Schie singer recently called ''the worldwide equilibrium of forces." The Nixon administration is determined to maintain a rough balance of military capabilities with the Soviet Union in a variety of spheres, including the naval. The upgrading of the Diego Garcia base is as much a diplomatic as it is a military maneuver. It is a signal to the Kremlin that Washington remains committed to detente, but that the United States will not permit the Soviet Union to use a period of relaxed tensions to acquire a position of military superiority, in the Indian Ocean or anywhere else. The second consideration driving U.S planners relates to America's historical interests as a sea power. The United States, like Britain, is traditionally a naval power. Richard Burt is a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Ask About The NEW INVISIBLE Multicocal Lens (MULTILUX) SPRING 7 STORES TO SERVE YOU BETTER 1221 2nd Avenue South, Lethbridge Stores at Barons, Bow Island, Cardston, Coaldale, Picture Butte, Taber CAPRI PAINT Your Choice of EVENT April 18 to 27 1974 Exterior Latex Interior Latex Interior Semi-Gloss Exterior Oil Base 1 ONE LOW PRICE 66 C66 quart 9'Hon 10 Speed Step Ladder Aluminum. 5' 14. Paint Brush Set 2" and set 1.97 Garden Hose v2 x 50' Plastic 3. 20" Lawn Mower 3.5 H.P. Garden Tier 15488 Garden Wheel Barrow 3 cu. ft. 97 10 8 H.P. CANADIANA RID'EM LAWN MOWER Briggs Stratton Engine 36" Cutting Width 5 Position Cutting Adjustment 4 Speed Transmission with Differential EVENT SPECIAL 499 Garden Hoe 2.66 Bow Rake 2.66 Lawn Edger 2.66 Lawn Edging 77" Turtle Wax 1.33 Oil Filters 1.37 Lawn Fence 1.57 Roto Rake Bar 2.97 Fertilizer Spreader 10.88 CAMPER TENT 8' X 8! x 6' H 37 88 Boys' or Girls' Hi-Rise Bike Kite 36" Baby Bat 99' Golf Balls 3 J.99 WEB LAWN CHAIR each 3 99 WEB Lounge BICh 9 99 24" Motorized Barbecue j 1 Hibachi BALL GLOVES 688 sr 9 Jr. Spalding 7 piece GOLF CLUBS 39"