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Indian Navy answers SOS call from sinking Chinese ship, deploys aircraft

The site where the trawler is located is also 287 nautical miles northeast of the US naval base at Diego Garcia
Last Updated : 18 May 2023, 18:10 IST

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Amid the India-China tension along the northern boundary, the Indian Navy has come to the aid of a sinking Chinese fishing vessel in the southern Indian Ocean with a naval aircraft keeping an eye on the boat while guiding Chinese military ships to the site for a rescue operation.

“In a swift humanitarian action, the Indian Navy on May 17 deployed its P8I aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean Region approximately 900 nautical miles from India in response to the sinking of a Chinese Fishing Vessel Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 with 39 crew onboard,” said a navy spokesperson. The crew includes nationals from China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The site where the trawler is located is also 287 nautical miles northeast of the US naval base at Diego Garcia.

The P8I aircraft from the INAS 312 Squadron took off from its base in Arakkonam to carry out multiple extensive searches despite adverse weather and located objects possibly belonging to the sunken vessel.

As an immediate response, search and rescue equipment was deployed at the scene by the Indian aircraft at the request of the Chinese navy as ships from the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) were closing in, the spokesperson said.

In a display of India’s obligations as a credible and responsible partner for ensuring safety at sea, the Indian Navy also coordinated the search and rescue efforts with other vessels in the area and guided the PLA (N) warships transiting to the scene of the incident.

The Indian aircraft remain deployed to provide all possible assistance to the ongoing search and rescue efforts.

With New Delhi and Beijing vying to dominate the strategically important sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, the navy keeps a close eye on the maritime traffic in the region.

While the focus is always on the Chinese military surface ships and submarines, there are also thousands of Chinese fishing trawlers that remain on the Indian radar.

Addressing a conclave in Delhi last month, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said there had been a “large presence” of Chinese vessels in the IOR and India kept a “very close watch” on the developments to protect its maritime interests.

The humane gesture from India came when the two countries were engaged in a prolonged military-diplomatic dialogue to ease prevailing tensions along the LAC.

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Published 18 May 2023, 12:44 IST

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