CDS Bipin Rawat downplays Chinese matrix in Indian Ocean, gives weight to freedom of navigation

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Published: January 20, 2020 6:40:20 PM

While the squadron here is expected to give a thrust to India's capabilities for dominance especially in the IOR, China's presence in the same region is on the rise.

The top general also referred to facets like piracy that can disrupt movement of merchant ships. (Twitter image)The top general also referred to facets like piracy that can disrupt movement of merchant ships. (Twitter image/ File)

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on Monday downplayed the question of China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and said every nation looked at its security from a strategic perspective. After the induction ofa Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet squadron at the Air Force Station here, Gen Rawat, answering a question on how Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean posed a threat to India, said every nation looked at its security from a stratgeic perspective.

While the squadron here is expected to give a thrust to India’s capabilities for dominance especially in the IOR, China’s presence in the same region is on the rise. The Dragon nation already has a military base at the strategically located Djibouti at the horn of Africa, its first in a foreign nation, and it is also looking at expanding its presence.

“Every nation looks at its security from a strategic perspective. Oceans are meant for freedom of navigation. And therefore wherever you find any country which has interest in a particular area, it will attempt to come to that area to dominate the area more so for the freedom of navigation,” he told reporters.

Further, pointing to aspects like protection of tradein sea routes by any country, he said: “Therefore, I don’t think we should look at it particularly from that perspective (a pointer to perceived threat from China).” Also, he said the navies were operating in this area (indicating IOR) only because of freedom of navigation. The top general also referred to facets like piracy that can disrupt movement of merchant ships.

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