The Indian Navy has been bolstering its presence in the Indian Ocean in view of China regularly sending warships and submarines to the region.
The Chinese military has reacted guardedly to the Indian Navy’s move to launch a new air base in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar islands, saying the area is part of India and it is a normal move by it to establish a military base there. The Indian Navy on Thursday commissioned the new air base — INS Kohassa — in the Andaman and Nicobar islands as part of efforts to expand operational presence in the Indian Ocean where China has been increasing its military presence.
The Indian Navy has been bolstering its presence in the Indian Ocean in view of China regularly sending warships and submarines to the region. Referring to the launch of the Indian naval base, a report in official Chinese military website said on Friday that some foreign media are provoking the situation, saying India intends to “confront China”.
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Ding Hao, deputy director of the Asian-African Military Affairs Office of the Foreign Military Studies Department under the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) Academy of Military Sciences, said the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are overseas territories of Dominion of India and that it is a normal move for the Indian military to establish military bases there.
Ding also defended China’s forays into the Indian Ocean, saying all the “going global” policy of the Chinese military are to safeguard the peace and stability of the world and safeguard China’s own overseas interests, not to threaten any country or region.
China has built a logistics base at Djibouti in the Indian Ocean and acquired Sri Lanka’s Hambantota on 99-year lease as part of “debt diplomacy”. In response to India’s concerns about China’s military presence, Ding said that Beijing has always advocated enhancing strategic mutual trust with India at all levels, so it is not necessary to exaggerate Indian military use of their third naval base or Chinese Navy’s entering the Indian Ocean.
The “China threat” theory is repeatedly mentioned whenever Chinese ships appear in the Indian Ocean, the report said. He claimed that the main purpose of the Chinese navy entering the Indian Ocean is to maintain the safety of the maritime channel.
“Given that pirates are very active and Chinese ships sailing to and from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia all need to go through the Indian Ocean, the aim of the Chinese navy entering the Indian Ocean is not only for its own interests. Instead, it also aims to protect the safety of ships from all countries,” he said.