Sunday, March 3, 2024
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‘China deploys warships in Indian Ocean’

Chinese naval contingent deployed near the Maldives
1. A Chinese naval contingent has been deployed in the East Indian Ocean
2. This comes at a time when the Maldives is undergoing a political crisis
Indian Ocean region: New tug of war
1. The Chinese Navy’s ‘Blue 2018A’ fleet has been training in the East Indian Ocean for a week
2. China had earlier warned against external intervention in the Maldives
3. This was after the country’s exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed called for New Delhi’s intervention to release political prisoners
4. China is trying to exercise influence over the Maldives usually within India’s strategic view
5. Indian defense sources denied any movement of Chinese ships near the Indian Ocean island nation
China develops underwater surveillance networks in Indian Ocean, SCS
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Maritime Silk Road, Gulf of Aden, Djibouti, Hambantota port, Gwadar port, Senkaku islands
Mains level: China’s rising military capabilities and its effects on India/world
New underwater surveillance network
1. China has developed a new underwater surveillance network to help its submarines get a stronger lock on targets while protecting the nation’s interests along the maritime Silk Road
2. This includes the Indian ocean
About the system
1. The system, which has already been launched, works by gathering information about the underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity
2. The Chinese system is based on a network of platforms buoys, surface vessels, satellites and underwater gliders that gather data from the South China Sea, and the Western Pacific and Indian oceans
3. The Navy can use this data to more accurately track target vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning
China’s expansion in Indian Ocean
1. In recent years, China has stepped up naval expeditions to the Indian Ocean to fight the pirates in Gulf of Aden
2. China is also seeking to establish logistic bases in the Indian Ocean
3. The first such base was opened by China in Djibouti last year and it acquired the Hambantota port of Sri Lanka on 99 years lease for debt swap
4. It is currently developing the Gwadar port in Pakistan as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
South China Sea dispute
1. China is involved in maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas
2. It claims almost all of the South China Sea and has also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in the East China Sea
3. These islands are believed to harbor vast natural resources below their seabed
4. The US has been periodically deploying its naval ships and fighter planes in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation in the disputed areas
How could this move affect India/world?
1. The project is part of an unprecedented military expansion fuelled by Beijing’s desire to challenge the US in the world’s oceans
2. By 2030 China will have 260 warships and submarines compared to the US’ 199
3. Since the Cold War, the US had closely guarded the Western Pacific via “island chains”
4. China is now moving in the same direction with ‘String of pearls’ around India and establishing bases in African subcontinent and other areas in Pacific Ocean.

‘Courtesy The Hindu’

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