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Navy keeps close watch as 3 Chinese military vessels enter Indian Ocean weeks after intrusion

A Chinese vessel operating in Indian waters near Port Blair was forced to turn back by the Indian Navy in September.

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New Delhi: The Indian Navy is closely monitoring the entry of three Chinese vessels, including a submarine, into the Indian Ocean Region for what is believed to be a move towards Beijing’s naval exercise with Pakistan early next month.

“Three Chinese vessels, including a submarine, are in the Indian Ocean waters. Their route is being closely monitored. It is believed that they are here for an upcoming naval exercise with Pakistan,” a senior Navy official told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.

The submarine’s entry is the first such move by China since September, the official said.
Defence officials said the vessels are being tracked by long range maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare aircraft P8, and “other assets”.

Last week, the Chinese military announced it will hold joint maritime exercises with Pakistan in the northern Arabian Sea next year. It didn’t, however, announce a schedule for it.


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‘Take permission’

The latest development comes just a day after news agency ANI reported that the Navy drove away a suspicious Chinese vessel operating in the Indian waters near Port Blair in September.

Shi Yan 1, the Chinese research vessel, was carrying out research activities in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and was detected by maritime surveillance aircraft operating there, ANI reported citing government sources.

It is suspected that Shi Yan 1 could have been used by China to spy on Indian activities in the island territory from where India can keep a close eye on the maritime movements in the Indian Ocean region and south-east Asian region.

Asked about the report during the annual press conference Tuesday, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said, “Our stand is very clear…. If you have to do anything in our exclusive economic zone, you have to notify the Indian Navy and take permission.”

According to international maritime laws, while foreign vessels can pass through the EEZ, they cannot carry out any research or exploration activities.

Singh added, “At any given time, seven to eight Chinese vessels are there in the region.”

According to the ANI report, an Indian Navy warship was sent to monitor the vessel after it was detected by the agencies.

“After being cautioned by the Indian Navy, the Chinese Shi Yan 1 vessel left Indian waters and moved to its other destination probably towards China,” the report said.


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