08:42 GMT +317 October 2019
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    The Indian navy guided-missile corvette INS Kulish (P63) is underway in formation with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 during Exercise Malabar 2012. (File)

    Indian Navy Tracks Chinese Warships in IOR, Wittily Wishes 'Happy Hunting'

    CC0 / Mass Communication Specialist Seaman George M. Bell / INS Kulish
    Asia & Pacific
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    Ten months ago, the Indian Navy re-oriented its fleet pattern to that of a mission-based deployment. The step was taken in view of the increased presence of Chinese naval ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Navy, on Tuesday, trolled China's People's Liberation Army (Navy) after tracking their naval ships venturing into the Indian Ocean Region. In a witty tweet, the Indian Navy said that it extends a warm welcome to China's anti-piracy escort force.

    The Indian Navy, in another tweet, claimed that as part of its mission-based deployment, 50 ships have been constantly on vigil to keep India's maritime domain safe.

    "Aggressive patrols by the Indian Navy and partner maritime forces in the near seas, they seem convinced, would deny the PLAN (People's Liberation Army Navy) entry into India's regional littorals," Abhijit Singh, a former naval officer wrote in his commentary published by the Delhi based think tank Observer Research Foundation. 

    Last December, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that at least eight ships of the PLAN were in the Indian Ocean Region "at any given time". These included three for their anti-piracy patrol that China began in 2008.  During the Doklam stand-off, China had surprisingly increased the number of ships to 14.

    In February this year, during the Maldives crisis, the Chinese navy picked up a fleet of destroyers, at least one frigate, a 30,000-tonne amphibious transport dock and three support tankers that sailed through the South China Sea, entered the Indian Ocean through the Sunda Strait but turned around and returned to the South China Sea through the Lombok Strait after encountering Indian warships in the Indian Ocean Region.  

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    The four straits of Malacca, Sunda, Lombok and Ombai Wetar are used by China's PLAN to cross between their bases in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.

    Nevertheless, strategist Abhijit Singh says he does not wholeheartedly support the Indian Navy's 24/7 vigil at choke points.

    "But the idea that Indian naval power can prevent Chinese warships and submarines from accessing India's near seas is inherently flawed. First, the plan is sure to wear out the Navy's combat assets and trained personnel. With each warship being on task for three months before being "turned around", most of the Navy's combat ready ships will find themselves on an operational treadmill of a mission to nowhere. Not only will this result in crew and platform fatigue — raising the possibility of accidents and encounters at sea — the deployments won't be able to restrict entry or egress of any foreign warships in the Indian Ocean. Besides, the idea of a "constant watch" over choke points is seriously misplaced. Trading nations regard the oceans as a shared global commons, with equal-opportunity rights for all user states," Abhijit Singh added in his commentary.


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    Ocean, maritime doctrine, patrol missions, combat readiness, People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), Indian Navy, India, China, Indian Ocean
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