Naval diplomacy checks Chinese tactics

Naval diplomacy checks Chinese tactics
With India and China competing for supremacy in the Indian Ocean region, presence of 100 warships from 49 countries in the Bay of Bengal demonstrates how India used naval diplomacy in securing international support in opposing China’s muscle flexing in the Indian Ocean.

With China being one of the guests at the mega maritime show, Indian officials are not officially commenting on Chinese submarine’s forays in India’s neighbourhood and the South China Sea controversies.

But New Delhi’s position on the high seas being global commons where everyone should have freedom of navigation, received support from other nations attending the mega maritime show.

“India led the IONS (Indian Ocean Naval Symposium) initiative, which the UK is happy to support. We also believed in freedom of navigation and following the UN convention on the laws of the sea,” said an UK official.

In the last one and half years, the Indian Navy revived its diplomatic role, making port of calls in more than 50 nations. One of the unstated objectives behind those voyages was to garner support from others in opposing China’s naval overreach.

When INS Sahyadri visited Vietnam’s port city Da Nang and Japan last October, Chinese expressed concerns on whether Vietnam and Japan would be joining hands with India to form diplomatic and security ties to contain China from both sides.

Asked about the India-China relation, Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang from the 21 Task Force of the People’s Liberation Army Navy said, “We are neighbouring countries with common issues. We should improve our relationship.”

Two PLA Navy guided-missile frigates, Liuzhou and Sanya, are participating in the international fleet review. Interestingly, Rear Admiral Yu came to Visakhapatnam within weeks of visiting Pakistan with these two ships for an exercise.

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