Beijing and Islamabad have launched their biggest ever naval exercises. The presence of several frontline Chinese warships, a submarine and fleet support vessels was seen at the Karachi port. Indian news media NDTV has given this news by publishing satellite images.
China has significantly expanded its maritime presence in Indian Ocean waters. At such a time ‘Sea Guardian-3’ exercise is being held.
Several Chinese surveillance and oceanographic survey vessels have also been detected in the Indian Ocean over the past year. Earlier this month, a Chinese ocean research ship ‘Shi Yan 6’ landed in Colombo, Sri Lanka. But earlier it sailed towards the Bay of Bengal between the Tamil Nadu coastline and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
China is believed to be actively charting Indian Ocean waters, including the Bay of Bengal, to enable extensive submarine operations across the region.
The Chinese fleet also has a ‘Type 039’ diesel-electric submarine in Karachi. China has also reportedly operated nuclear-powered fast attack submarines in the Indian Ocean.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is conducting its eighth exercise after deploying submarines in the Indian Ocean. Which is becoming a concern for India. It is not clear whether a nuclear submarine was also deployed with the Chinese fleet participating in the exercise.
In April 2015, the Pakistani government agreed to buy eight ‘Type 039’ submarines in a deal worth $5 billion. Four submarines are expected to be built by the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works. However, no submarines have been delivered so far.
Former Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash said, “Our planners and decision-makers must clearly face the fact that the Chinese have vital interests in the Indian Ocean – especially its sea lanes.” China carries most of its trade, raw materials and manufactured goods on this route. We are going to see a growing presence of the PLA Navy (PLAN) in the Indian Ocean. In addition to warships, submarines also exist.
In April this year, Indian Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar said that the Indian Navy is monitoring the deployment of Chinese naval vessels in Pakistani ports. There is a huge presence of Chinese ships. There are three to six Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean at all times. China has also deployed research vessels in the area.