New Delhi ‘keenly watches’ over Chinese ships sailing across Indian Ocean – Navy chief India keeps close track of all Chinese ships, which have become more frequent in the Indian Ocean, the nation’s Navy commander said, as New Delhi excluded Beijing from the “like-minded” invitees to its naval drills next year.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh spoke to reporters at his annual media conference on Tuesday, ahead of the Navy Day celebrations.
China has increased presence in the Indian Ocean since 2008. We are keenly watching them.
Singh said that there are “on an average seven to eight” Chinese oceanographic vessels present near the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“They’ve been given certain areas for deep-sea mining,” he said, noting that Chinese ships also conduct anti-piracy operations in the area.
The Navy chief earlier confirmed that an Indian warship was dispatched in September to chase away a Chinese research vessel, operating near the EEZ without India’s permission. The incident reportedly happened near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and the trespassing ship was the Shiyan 1 survey ship, operated by the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology.
Admiral Singh also commented on why India did not invite Beijing to its Milan 2020 naval drill, scheduled to kick off next March. New Delhi sent out invitations to 41 nations, including the US, Russia, France, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines.
“We have called the people that we think [are] like-minded… With others we have much better interoperability,” Singh said, adding that India is interested in partnering with those who share “the common interests of keeping safe and secures seas, freedom of navigation and rule-based order.”
China, meanwhile, is set to conduct a naval drill with India’s rival, Pakistan next month. The joint exercise aims to promote strategic partnership and “the building of a maritime community with a shared future” with Islamabad, Defense Ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said last week. He stressed that the upcoming drill is not directed against any particular country.
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