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We are watching movements in the Indian Ocean Region: Navy Chief

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh. File

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

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‘At any given time there are about 7-8 vessels and 85% of their defence exports are in the IOR’

The Chinese Navy is expanding rapidly and there are increases forays in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), said Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Wednesday. Similar concerns were shared by Navy officers from Australia, France, Japan and U.K.

Presently, at any given time there are about 7-8 vessels and 85% of their defence exports are in the IOR, Adm. Singh said. They are watching developments in the region and have begun Mission Based Deployments, he added. “If anything impinges our sovereignty or national security, we will have to act,” he stated speaking at the Raisina Dialogue jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and Observer Research Foundation.

Elaborating, Adm. Singh said there are instances where PLA ships had come into India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and added, “We had to tell them it impinges on our rights.”

In the last few years there has been an huge increase in the presence of PLA Navy’s deployment in the Indian Ocean. Beginning 2008, China has been sending ships and even nuclear submarines on anti-piracy patrols in the region. Apart from getting access to several ports and facilities in the Indian Ocean, China has recently opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa giving it the ability to monitor across the Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf.

On the concept of Indo-Pacific, Adm. Sigh said constructs like this are not directed against anyone. “The general end state that we wish to achieve is getting seas which are free for commerce and promote economic prosperity,” he stated. On the future of Quad and possible upgradation, he said is and there is a desire to evolve more “we are ready.”

“Quad will evolve organically as we have a common understanding of what we want.”

On Russia’s role in the Indo-Pacific, Adm. Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, U.K said, “There are opportunities for us to work together in the maritime domain but within the rules based world order.”

Vice Adm. David Johnston, Vice Chief of the Defence Force of Australia too echoed a similar view by stating that “Quad is one of the mechanisms we have with like minded countries.”

Stating the French view, Gen. Luc de Rancourt, Deputy Director General for International Relations and Strategy, Ministry of Armed Forces acknowledged that they have seen China become more and more active while adding that they have an Indo-Pacific strategy which is not been designed against China. However, he added, the thing which is puzzling them was, a fait accompli China can accomplish in the South China Sea (SCS).

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 6:41:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/we-are-watching-movements-in-the-indian-ocean-region-navy-chief/article30573179.ece

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