India Navy confident of prevailing over China


NEW DELHI (INP): India is closely tracking Chinese warships and submarines in the ongoing shadow-boxing for the same strategic space in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), and remains confident it can prevail if push comes to shove in the maritime domain.
“We keep a close eye on Chinese warships and submarines, including nuclear ones, and constantly monitor their movements in the IOR. We have the capabilities, assets and plans in place to tackle any threat or challenge,” said Admiral Sunil Lanba, ahead of Navy Day on December 4.
This comes soon after reports that China could well deploy its warships and submarines in conjunction with Pakistan Navy at Gwadar port, the gateway to the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor till Xinjiang, to safeguard its trade and energy routes, Times of India said on Saturday.
While the Indian Navy recognises “the Chinese flag will go where the trade is”, and has no intention of turning the ongoing “competition” in the IOR into “a conflict”, it cannot lower its guard in its own strategic backyard. Just a few days ago, for instance, another Chinese conventional submarine docked for an operational turn-around (OTR) at Karachi.
This is at least the sixth Chinese submarine — the nuclear ones usually alternate with diesel-electric ones to pop up in the IOR since 2012, the newspaper said quoting Indian naval officials.
Pakistan, is also now slated to get eight new attack diesel-electric submarines from China in an over $5 billion deal. Amid the ongoing heightened tensions with Pakistan, even as China steps up its naval forays into the IOR, Admiral Lanba said, “The Navy has holistically reviewed its employment philosophy to proactively deter any menace that may threaten our sovereignty.”
“Even today, the Navy has over 40 warships, four submarines and 12 aircraft deployed in waters around the Indian peninsular and island territories. We are capable and ready to safeguard our national maritime interests anytime, anywhere, every time,” he added.
The People’s Liberation Army may enjoy a clear edge along the 4,057km line of actual control but Indian warships can if required threaten the energy sea lanes of China. Indian Navy is extensively using its Poseidon-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, armed with potent anti-submarine warfare capabilities, and other assets to keep tabs on Chinese warships or submarines lurking in the IOR.
“Chinese submarines usually come on 90-day deployments to the IOR, with an OTR at Karachi after 45 days or so. But they have to surface while crossing the Malacca, Sunda or Lombox Straits since the waters there are not deep enough,” said a senior officer.