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India on alert when “China deploys dozens of underwater drones at IOR” | India News

NEW DELHI: India is closely monitoring the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) amid reports that China has now also been dedicated to deploying underwater drones in addition to hydrographic surveys and ocean research ships in the region. The concern in the Indian security establishment is that while such studies are conducted for deepwater mining and other commercial activities, they are also critical to submarine and anti-submarine warfare operations.

International business magazine Forbes reported Sunday that China deployed dozens of underwater drones “Sea Wing” from specialized research ship Xiangyanghong 06 at the IOR in mid-December before retrieving them last month. These long-range marine wing gliders, which can operate for months, made “more than 3,400 observations” for the winter survey of the “Joint Ocean and Ecology Research Project” led by the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources.

The Forbes report said that although Chinese submarine drones were apparently collecting oceanographic data, transmitting information to their mother ship via tail antennas, that data is commonly collected for naval intelligence and submarine warfare operations. Indian Navy sources said Monday they “could not vouch for the authenticity” of the Forbes report. But the Navy continues to “constantly track” the presence of Chinese research ships in the IOR through “multiple platforms” ranging from long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I to warships in mission-based deployments. .

“At any given time, there are four to five Chinese research ships mapping different parts of the IOR. They regularly collect oceanographic data on the physical operating environment, such as seawater temperatures, salinity, and chlorophyll levels, which are very useful for general navigation and underwater operations. They work the best routes for their submarines, ”said a source.

If any of these Chinese research ships enter India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which stretches up to 200 nautical miles from its coast, and engages in any “suspicious military activity”, it is expelled after an adequate warning. The chief of the navy, Admiral Karambir Singh, confirmed in December that his force drove the Chinese ocean-going research ship Shi Yan-1 after it was discovered to be carrying out suspicious activity near the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. “Since that incident in September, no Chinese ship has entered our EEZ until now,” said another source.

China, of course, has been rapidly expanding its naval footprint at the IOR and is looking for more logistical bases after establishing its first overseas base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and naval response facilities in Karachi. In addition to deploying warships on the IOR for more than a decade, China has also been regularly dispatching nuclear and conventional submarines to the region under the guise of anti-piracy patrols.

With two aircraft carriers (two more are under construction), 33 destroyers, 54 frigates, 42 corvettes, 50 diesel-electric and 10 nuclear submarines, among other warships, the Chinese Navy now represents a challenge even for the US Navy. USA

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