Chinese Surveillance Ship Intercepted Near Port Blair
The Indian Navy recently drove away a suspicious Chinese vessel from Indian waters near Port Blair. The Chinese vessel named Shi Yan 1 was detected by a maritime surveillance aircraft of the Indian Navy when the vessel was supposedly carrying out research activities in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) near Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Citing government sources, news agency ANI reported that the vessel could have been used to spy on Indian activities in the region. When the surveillance aircraft detected the Chinese vessel in the Exclusive Indian Economic Zone (EEZ), a Navy ship was sent to monitor its movements.
The Indian Navy ship asked the Chinese research vessel to move out of Indian waters after which the vessel left the Indian EEZ towards China, the report said, citing sources. It may be noted that the international maritime laws do not allow research and exploration activities in EEZs of other nations.
Recently, a P-8i surveillance aircraft of the Indian Navy had detected seven Chinese Navy warships operating around the Indian Ocean. The aircraft, which specialises in long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (LRMRASW) capabilities, had also clicked photographs of the Chinese vessels during their deployment in the region.
While Chinese naval ships have been entering Indian waters claiming to undertake anti-piracy operations in the region, India has been wary of Chinese presence in the region which remains central to the geopolitical developments across the globe due to key sea lines of communication (SLOCs) passing through the Indian Ocean.
While India vociferously bats for freedom of navigation, China’s expansionist policies, including in the South China Sea, where it is locked in a bitter battle with Japan over the Senkaku Islands, have often been applied to the Indian Ocean, which Beijing has always claimed is ‘not India’s Ocean’.