The meddle kingdom?
The Chinese Navy confronted an Indian naval ship in the South China Sea in July, demanding to know why the Indian vessel was in Chinese territory despite the incident appearing to take place in what are widely regarded as international waters, reports today are suggesting.
The face-off, which took place on July 22, is expected to heighten tensions in the often awkward relationship between Delhi and Beijing.
According to reports, the amphibious assault vessel INS Airavat was radioed by an unidentified Chinese naval vessel as it left Vietnamese waters. CNN-IBN reports that the Airavat was 45 nautical miles from Vietnam’s coast and heading towards the port of Haiphaong. ‘An unidentified caller who claimed to be from the Chinese Navy, but who was speaking in English, told INS Airavat that the Indian ship was entering Chinese waters and they must leave,’ according to IBN.
China has been engaged in a sometimes intense and long-running row with its Southeast Asian neighbours about ownership of the South China Sea, with China’s expansive claims disputed most notably by Vietnam and the Philippines. Indeed, Vietnam raised the stakes in June, calling on the United States and others to step in and help find some kind of resolution after a number of confrontations. But this may be the first time that China has directly challenged India.
Govt rejects confrontation between Indian, Chinese naval ships
[The Indian] Government on Thursday rejected reports of an alleged confrontation between an Indian Navy ship and a Chinese vessel off the coast of Vietnam and stressed it expected all countries to respect the freedom of navigation in international waters.
"There was no confrontation involving the INS Airavat," external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said when asked about reports of a face-off between Indian naval ship and a Chinese warship. "At a distance of 45 nautical miles from the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea, it was contacted on open radio channel by a caller identifying himself as the 'Chinese Navy' stating that 'you are entering Chinese waters'," the spokesperson said. "No ship or aircraft was visible from INS Airavat, which proceeded on her onward journey as scheduled," he added.
The spokesperson stressed that India backed "freedom of navigation in international waters, including in the South China Sea, and the right of passage in accordance with accepted principles of international law."
"These principles should be respected by all," he added.
‘Chinese ship caught spying on India’
In a worrying development, a Chinese spy ship disguised as a fishing trawler was tracked in the Indian Ocean recently, a report claimed on Wednesday.
The ship was detected near the coast of Little Anadaman.
It is believed that the ship had spent more than 20 days in the sensitive location before Indian radars could locate it.
While the Navy dispatched a ship as soon as the presence of the Chinese spy ship was confirmed, no action could be taken as the vessel was in international waters.
However, the Indian Navy ship did tail the Chinese vessel till it move towards Sri Lankan waters. The ship is reported to have docked at Colombo.
It is believed that the ship had as many as 22 laboratories on board.
Government sources say the Chinese ship had specific aims to map the Indian Ocean and collect Bathymetric data, which helps in submarine and aircraft carrier based operations.
The labs on board the ship are also believed to have been used to collect data on Ocean currents, the temperature at various depths and also underwater obstructions and obstacles. This information becomes crucial if one has to use torpedoes.
It is an open secret that both India and China are engaged in a race to assert their supremacy over the Indian Ocean region.
Labels: Not so pacific Pacific