The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday denied any confrontation between an Indian Naval Ship and a Chinese vessel off the coast of Vietnam last month as suggested by a news report, which was picked up by news channels for the better part of the day. “We are treating this as a non-event. Nothing happened at all,” said diplomatic sources.
Reacting to reports suggesting a confrontation, an official spokesperson of the MEA Vishnu Prakash said INS Airavat paid a friendly visit to Vietnam between July 19 and 28.
On July 22, INS Airavat sailed from the Vietnamese port of Nha Trang towards Hai Phong.
About 45 nautical miles from the Vietnamese coast in South China Sea, it was contacted on open radio channel by a caller identifying himself as the “Chinese Navy,” stating that “you are entering Chinese waters.” No ship or aircraft was visible from INS Airavat, which proceeded on its onward journey as scheduled.
“India supports freedom of navigation in international waters, including in the South China Sea, and the right of passage in accordance with accepted principles of international law. These principles should be respected by all,” added Mr. Prakash.
This is the second time in recent months that anonymous calls are being ascribed to another country's security organisation.