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Chinese Navy invited to naval fleet review

Last Updated : 28 May 2015, 20:07 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2015, 20:07 IST

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The Indian Navy has invited Chinese Navy for next year’s international fleet review at Visakhapatnam, but the maritime service will continue to watch out for the presence of Chinese ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean.


“Yes, we have invited People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) for the international fleet review,” Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan said here at the conclusion of naval commanders conference.
Close to 70 ships and submarines would take part in the show in February 2016, which will bid adieu to the ageing Indian aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

Earlier this month, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited China the two countries agreed on increasing bilateral naval cooperation. “The two sides will exchange visits of naval ships and hold PASSEX (passing exercises) and SAR (search and rescue) exercises,” said the joint statement issued after Modi’s meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Notwithstanding the friendly invite to the PLAN, Dhowan asserted there was no question of lowering the guards. “Chinese naval activities are being closely monitored. Chinese Navy ships have been present in the Indian Ocean since 2008. Some submarines are also there,” he said.

Dhowan downplayed the Chinese white paper on maritime strategy in which PLAN talked about offensive strategies in the deep sea. But in the closed door commanders conference, he approved a 10-year plan to create several infrastructure, which would help Indian Navy retain an edge in the Indian Ocean.

“Deliberations were also held on enhancement of surveillance in our area of interest and manning requirements for new induction aircraft including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” said a navy spokesperson.

Redefine zone
Successive Navy chiefs had made it clear in the past that though South China Sea was not traditionally an area of interest for the Indian Navy, the maritime service can redefine its zone of operation for the country’s economic interest, depending on the presence of national assets in the Indian Ocean.

Dhown said the infrastructure plan had been dovetailed with the maritime capability perspective plan so that equipping the service with new military hardware and creation of infrastructure for those platforms and weapons could go on parallel.

On Tuesday, China unveiled an assertive military strategy enhancing its naval reach for the first time to open seas protection far from its shores.

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Published 28 May 2015, 20:07 IST

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