Chinese submarine movements in the Indian Ocean Region have reduced significantly, with no detected presence since October last year when a deployment had to be aborted mid-way, due to a suspected technical fault, government sources have told ET.
While the Chinese 32th escort task force is replacing the 31st in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy duties, military watchers have been keeping a sharp eye on its submarines deployments, which had intensified starting 2013 with a nuclear submarine being spotted in the region.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has been maintaining operational deployment in the Arabian Sea since the Pulwama terror strike n February, virtually choking the Pakistan Navy and forcing it to stay close to the coastline.
The last Chinese submarine to be spotted was a conventional Yuan class submarine that made its way into the Indian Ocean through the Sunda Strait last October. Officials said that the submarine – which was greeted by the Indian Navy as soon as it popped up in the region – showed signs of a technical fault as it sailed a significant distance to Colombo without submerging.
“The submarine was accompanied in the trip with a rescue vessel. They both stayed at Colombo for a few days and the exited the region together through the Malacca Strait. The Chinese vessel was possibly facing some technical issues,” an official aware of the matter told ET.
Before that, the last spotting of a Chinese submarine in the region was in October 2017. Incidentally, the Indian Navy has been maintaining mission based deployments in the region since 2017, with ships being deployed at five areas of interest throughout the year.
India is also upgrading its anti-submarine warfare capabilities as military planners focus on acquiring expertise to counter the growing Chinese presence in the region. While the Boeing P8I aircraft have added significantly to the technical capabilities, India is also exercising with friendly nations such as Australia to exchange best practices and develop joint operational experience.
However, signs of growing Chinese influence in the region is clear from its `submarine diplomacy’ over the past few years. Beyond the deployment and port visits by its nuclear powered boats to Sri Lanka and Pakistan, China supplied Bangladesh with its two submarines in 2017. The refurbished Ming Class boats are the first submarines to be operated by Bangladesh.
Continuing with its military relations with Pakistan, Beijing will be supplying it with eight new diesel electric attack submarines, four of which are to be manufactured in Karachi likely by 2028. These submarines, possibly of a new class, will be fitted with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems that will enable them to stay underwater for days.
Choked Pakistan fails to make appearance at China fleet review.
The tempo of deployments post the Pulwana terror attack is being maintained even now, with ships, submarines and the aircraft carrier on operational deployment.
This deployment has `choked’ the Pakistani Navy.
Indian deployment could be the reason why no Pakistan Navy ship participated in the International Fleet Review of the Chinese Navy in Qingdao on Wednesday.
PakistaIndian deployment could be the reason why no Pakistan Navy ship participated in the International Fleet Review of the Chinese Navy in Qingdao on Wednesday.
Pakistan Navy has sent a team of officers for the review but no naval asset · Indian Navy Sips Kolkata and Shakti are in Qingdao for the fleet review.