22:42 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Sun rises near the tiny atoll of Alphonse where scientists began exploring the depths of the Indian Ocean, Thursday March 7, 2019

    Chinese Submarines Didn’t Violate Sovereignty - Indian Foreign Minister

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A day after a Navy spy plane detected seven warships in the Indian Ocean, the Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar clarified that New Delhi had not raised the issue with Beijing as the warships had not violated any maritime boundaries.

    Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar dampened media speculation that border tensions with China had been flaring up ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit to New Delhi.

    "Chinese submarines and warships tracked in the Indian Ocean is an operational matter of the navy and we did not raise the matter diplomatically with Beijing as there are no sovereignty violations involved in these cases," he said.

    "We did not have skirmishes with Chinese at the border," the minister added.

    The statement came against a backdrop of a recent face-off at the border in the eastern Ladakh region which Jaishankar said was to due to the loosely demarcated boundary between the two countries, adding  that the issue had been resolved diplomatically.

    The Chinese president is scheduled to visit India in October for a second informal summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Ahead of his visit, China had protested India's decision to scrap the special constitutional status of Kashmir.

    China also opposed New Delhi’s decision to declare Ladakh a separate administrative territory, and has asked India to rethink its decision.

    The Indian External Affairs Ministry has said the change to Ladakh's status would not impact on the Line of Actual Control - a loosely demarcated line that divides the two Asian giants.

    India had also rejected the joint statement issued by China and Pakistan last month which included plans to build a $50 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor through the disputed region.
    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cancelled a visit to New Delhi scheduled for 9 September, where he was supposed to hold special representative-level talks on the boundary question with India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

    Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said in July that India was monitoring the progress of the Chinese navy, which has been displaying its assertiveness with the deployment of at least six to eight warships, including submarines, with patrols in the Indian Ocean.

    Since 2018, India has been operating its warships and other maritime assets under a new strategic plan known as "Mission-Based Deployment" as it seeks to strengthen its dominant regional position amid a growing Chinese naval presence.

    In July, India strengthened its eavesdropping capability with the commissioning of a dedicated spy base on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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