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“Contestation happening at sea on daily basis”: Navy Chief on China ships

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NEW DELHI : There is a “large presence” of Chinese vessels in the Indian Ocean Region and India keeps a “very close watch” on the developments in the region to protect and preserve its national interests in the maritime domain, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said on Saturday.

During an interaction at a conclave, he also said that the Indian Navy is seized of the docking of various PLA Navy Ships at ports in Pakistan, and it is “keeping a watch on it”.

Asked about the threat aspects, the Navy chief spoke of both conventional and non-conventional threats, besides those emerging from what he described as “silent and inclusive paradigm” resulting in a “web of threats” that are emerging.

The Indian Navy’s role is to protect, promote and preserve national interests in the maritime domain, wherever they are, and it asses the threats and challenges.

On a daily basis, it is being seen that there is a certain amount of contestation happening at sea. It is well below the threshold of conflict, but possibility of a full-fledged cannot be ruled out, the Navy chief said.

On a question on PLA Navy ships docking at ports in Pakistan, he said, these ships are docking at ports in various countries, and not just in Pakistan.

As far as their visit to ports in Pakistan are concerned, “we are ceased of it, and keep a watch on”, he said.

Admiral Kumar said the Pakistan Navy is modernising itself at a good pace and seeks to become a 50-platform force in 10-15 years, and they are adding new corvettes and frigates to their fleet.

As far as China is concerned, in the last 10 years, a large number of ships and submarines have been Commissioned by it in the last ten years, the third aircraft carrier is under construction, and much larger destroyers they are working on, he said, adding, “we feel this will plateau at some time”.

We are keeping a very close watch in the Indian Ocean Region… and effort is to know whose presence is there and what are they up to, monitoring it 24×7 and we deploy aircraft, UAVs, ships, submarines, etc.,” the Navy chief said.

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