Indian Navy deployment in South China Sea irks Beijing

Indian Navy deployment in South China Sea irks Beijing

Beijing on Thursday conveyed its concerns over Indian Navy warships’ visit to South China Sea, prompting New Delhi to retort that such deployment was not unusual.

“When Indian ships participate in maritime exercises in the South China Sea, of course China will show concern,” a Chinese official was quoted telling journalists in New Delhi. He drew a parallel between India’s concerns over “trouble” in Indian Ocean with China’s concerns over Indian Navy ships’ visit to South China Sea.

Four warships of Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet – indigenously built guided missile stealth frigates INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, indigenous guided missile corvette INS Kirch and sophisticated fleet support ship INS Shakti – sailed out on Wednesday for a two-and-a-half-month long operational deployment to the South China Sea and North West Pacific Ocean.

New Delhi dismissed China’s concerns and said that Indian Navy’s deployment in and around South China Sea was not unprecedented.

“Indian ships’ visit (to South China Sea) is a normal thing which has been happening. It’s not something which happened only this time,” Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists, when his comment was sought. The ships of Indian Navy will make port calls at Cam Rahn Bay (Vietnam), Subic Bay (Philippines), Sasebo (Japan), Busan (South Korea), Vladivostok (Russia) and Port Klang (Malaysia) during overseas deployment. The Indian Navy ships will take part in Malabar-16 naval drill with warships of US and Japan.

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