‘Formidable Challenge’: Keeping A Close Watch On Chinese Forays Into Indian Ocean, Says Navy ch

New Delhi: The Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on Tuesday said China remains a “formidable challenge” that has expanded its presence along India’s land borders as well as in the maritime domain. Navy Chief, during an event on ‘India’s Naval Revolution: Becoming an Ocean Power’, spoke of the conventional and other security challenges for the country, and also said that “Pakistan, despite economic constraints, has continued its military modernisation, especially its Navy which is on track to becoming a 50-platform force by about 2030-2035”.

“While these conventional military challenges persist, terrorism remains a major security threat, as it continues to evolve in shape, scale and size. Staying one step ahead of such an invisible enemy, who will constantly innovate tactics, enabled by niche technologies, is a challenge that persists,” the Navy chief said.

Emanating from this security environment are the security challenges that India faces,” he added.

“While competition is being played out on a daily basis – at times testing limits – but without escalating into armed action, a war with potential adversaries can never be ruled out.

“In this regard, China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence, not only along our land borders but also in the maritime domain by leveraging anti-piracy operations to normalise its naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region,” the Navy chief said.

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Later in communication on the dais, he said that China has been in the Indian Sea beginning around 2008 and has built a military base in Djibouti. It is likewise associated with creating different ports in the Indian Sea in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan and different nations.

“At any point of time, there is about, anything between 5-8 Chinese Navy units, be they be warships, Chinese research vessels, or a host of Chinese fishing vessels operating in the Indian Ocean Region.

“We keep a watch on them, their activities in the Indian Ocean Region,” the Navy chief said in response to a question on China as a security challenge in IOR during the interaction.

Admiral Kumar said Indian Navy flies aircraft sorties, and ships are deployed almost round the clock to keep an eye on the Indian Ocean Region.

He, however, said that capability plans and development are not based on a particular country or nation, but it is “based on our requirements to protect, preserve and promote our interests in the maritime domain”.

(With PTI Inputs)