ZeeNews 2 December 2016
New Delhi: Amid a heightened security vigilance over the ‘increased influx’ of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean region and the likelihood of terrorists taking the maritime route to enter the country, the Indian Navy on Friday reiterated that it is prepared for any challenges.
Underscoring the preparedness of the armed forces, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that the Indian Navy is ready to meet all challenges.
“We have been monitoring Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean and the navy is prepared to meet all challenges,” Admiral Lanba told media persons.
In order to thwart any security threat to the country, and to ensure that terror attacks like Uri does not happen again, “we have to stay alert, and the navy is ready for any contingency”, he added.
Admiral Lanba said that the Navy is working in close coordination with the government. Because “When help is asked, the armed forces are the first responders in all situations,” Lanba said.
For the nth time in the past few years — the Naval Headquarters at New Delhi has been alarmed. The frequency of Chinese submarines operating in and around the Indian Ocean region specifically near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have caused deep concern due to their increasing frequency.
Defence analysts believe that both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea have emerged as “frequent hunting grounds of Chinese submarines” and “they could well lie waiting at choke points or off Indian harbours to operate against the Indian Naval fleet”.
“The fact that the PLA submarines have started using the Indian Ocean as their new operating grounds is really but a foregone conclusion for anyone willing to see past indicators,” security analyst P K Ghosh wrote in a commentary published in Indian Defence Review in May this year.
Citing media reports, the article noted that there were at least three to four sightings of Chinese warships in the recent past in waters close to the Indian shore.
Also, the Chinese ambition in the Indian Ocean region came to focus in November 2015 when the then US Army General David Rodriguez, the commander of US Africa Command, said that the Chinese Navy is going to build a permanent base in Djibouti, defence analyst Mandip Singh wrote in piece for IDSA (Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis).
Djibouti is a small North African nation and a former French colony, sits at the mouth of the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandeb, between the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.