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Indo-China border tensions adding to challenges in Indian Ocean Region: Navy chief

Source : India Today

Indo-China border tensions adding to challenges in Indian Ocean Region: Navy chief
Indian Navy Flotilla at IOR (File Photo)

Referring to tensions with China over the last 18 months, Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said the security situation along the northern borders has added to the existing challenges. “Indian ships were forward deployed when there was tension along the northern borders. We kept Chinese ships under close surveillance and we continue to do that even now,” he said on Friday.

He added that the Indian Navy’s deployment serves as a deterrent to inimical interests.

The Navy chief said the Chinese navy has been present in the Indian Ocean Region since 2007. “On average, China has seven ships in the IOR at any given point of time and their submarines also keep coming,” he added.

India and China have been involved in a military tussle in Ladakh since May last year. Despite 13 rounds of military talks, things have not eased even though a partial disengagement from friction points has taken place.

The enhanced troop deployment by both sides means a de-escalation cannot take place anytime soon. There has been a steady rise in the deployment of Chinese research vessels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), recent trends showed.

This has been observed in the southeastern Indian Ocean and western Indian Ocean over the last few years.

A sharp rise in Chinese fishing vessels in the IOR in the last four to five years has also been observed. On average, there are 300 Chinese fishing vessels that sail the IOR every year. But over the last year, this number has gone up to 450.

The increasing presence of China in the Indian Ocean Region has been a strategic concern for India. Chinese Navy vessels, including their submarines, frequent the water on the pretext of anti-piracy operations, intelligence reports suggest.

China has been expanding its naval operations in the Indian Ocean Region and the Indian Navy is aware of its growing maritime prowess. They have been shifting a lot of resources from other arms to the Navy, keeping in line with their aim of becoming a global power.

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