Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

No Chinese warship movement detected near waters of Maldives

Navy denies presence of 11 Chinese ships in Indian Ocean China muscle and Male snub
Sammy Stanley | 22 February, 2018, 09:46

"No movement of Chinese warship has been detected near the waters of Maldives", said a source in the Indian Navy.

Official sources in the defence ministry denied reports that a flotilla of Chinese warships had sailed close to the island chain of Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

Amid attention on the political crisis in the Maldives, Chinas PLA Navy has held rare exercises in the Indian Ocean until mid-February, which the Indian Navy closely monitored.

The massive new facility in Seychelles, north of Madagascar, is being seen as a major attempt to counter arch-enemy China's growing influence in the Indian Ocean.

Against the backdrop of increased Chinese activities in and around country's territorial waters, the Indian Navy has deployed eight warships around the entry points into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to keep an eye on the adversarial nations. As part of the mission-based deployment, at least 11 Navy vessels are deployed at various strategic locations for maritime domain awareness.

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"It is a routine deployment under which Chinese warships (five warships, including one Landing Platform Dock) had entered from the Sunda Strait and have gone back from the Strait of Lombok", Indian Navy sources added. The Navy also uses its long-range P8I aircraft for monitoring the seas in its area of interest.

China has carried out anti-piracy patrol off Somalia since 2013, while Indian Navy is doing the same job since 2008.

The Indian military sources rebuffed what they called "alarmist" press reports of "China indulging in gunboat diplomacy amid the constitutional crisis in Maldives".

Defence sources said Chinese warships transit the Indian Ocean regularly but to claim that a flotilla of 11 led by a destroyer was on the way was "absurd". Citing a Chinese news portal, Reuters had earlier reported that 11 Chinese warships sailed into the East Indian Ocean this month, when Maldives faced a crisis resulting in a state of emergency. This means that more than three dozen Indian Navy personnel are present in the country at any given time.

Moreover, almost 40 ships and submarines of the Western Fleet are out in the sea, too, as they conduct the triservice maritime exercise Paschim Leher in the Arabian Sea.

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