Indo-China tension: How Chinese navy is expanding its footprint in Indian Ocean

Agencies: Anti-piracy patrols and freedom of navigation are the reasons cited by China for its increased presence in the Indian Ocean, forcing New Delhi to tighten surveillance of the strategic waters, government sources have said. The deployment of Chinese naval units in the Indian Ocean is being closely monitored by the Indian Navy amid Beijing’s increased forays into the region.

“Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean has touched a new high in recent months. We are using our surveillance assets quite extensively to monitor their movement,” a navy source told media on Wednesday. The Indian Navy has sighted more than a dozen Chinese warships, including submarines, destroyers and intelligence-gathering vessels, in the Indian Ocean during the last two months.

The sightings assume significance as the two militaries are in a three-week-long standoff at an India-China-Bhutan trijunction close to the Sikkim border. Beijing has raised the pitch and its media are warning of a war, demanding India withdraw its troops from the Doklam, a disputed region.

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