Navy starts patrolling high seas near Malacca Strait

Navy starts patrolling high seas near Malacca Strait

India has decided to regularly patrol the high seas near the Malacca Strait in an effort to establish its domination on the strategically important Indian Ocean region.

Since the last two weeks, naval ships stationed at Andaman and Nicobar are being deployed to keep an eye on the maritime traffic passing through one of the world’s busiest sea lanes round the clock.

“Indian Navy has institutionalised patrolling of the international waters near the Malacca Strait. We want our presence to be felt as there are hundreds of ships passing through the region,” said a source in the navy. The unstated objective is to keep an eye on the Chinese traffic.

“In 2016, approximately 80% of China’s oil imports and 11% of natural gas imports transited the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca. The sheer volume of oil and liquefied natural gas that is imported by China from the Middle East and Africa will continue to make strategic sea lanes of communications important to China,” the Pentagon said in its new report on China.

Over the years, a vast stretch of Indian Ocean ranging from the Strait of Hormuz in the west to Strait of Malacca in the east remains Indian Navy’s footprint area. But the patrolling activity was so far limited to the anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden near the Somalia coast.

But with an increasing presence of Chinese and Taiwanese research vessels as well as merchant ships in the Indian Ocean, the government felt it would be appropriate for the Indian Navy to make its presence felt in those waters.
“The patrolling would be for maritime domain awareness,” said the source.

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