The top brass of the Navy will meet in the commander’s conference in Delhi starting Tuesday to discuss and devise India’s response to the growing presence of Chinese maritime forces in the Indian Ocean.
The Navy has been concerned over the increasing presence of Chinese Navy’s submarines and other warships in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
In a recent report submitted to the Defence Ministry, the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters had informed the Government quoting the data by American agencies that 22 encounters of Chinese submarines have taken place outside its territorial waters in the IOR.
China has also been successful in establishing its presence in ports around India including Chittagong in Bangladesh, Sittwe and Coco Island in Myanmar, Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan, which gives it capability to stay close to Indian waters from all sides in a ‘string of pearls,’ a line of ports from China to the Gulf that could facilitate expansion of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean. That has sparked concern in both the US and India.
China’s interest is driven by concerns about energy security as it seeks to fuel its booming economy. It wants a place to anchor pipelines to secure oil and gas supplies from the Gulf. Beijing also believes that aiding development in these countries will boost economic activity in its far western province of Xinjiang and dampen a simmering, low-intensity rebellion there.
In the conference to be inaugurated by Defence Minister A K Antony, the Navy will also discuss cases of indiscipline faced by the force.
In recent times, several Navy officers have faced allegations of wife swapping and stealing the affection of brother officer’s wife.
One senior officer posted on-board prestigious INS Virat aircraft carrier was dismissed by the force for sending lewd messages to several women using multiple SIM cards and mobile phones.
The top brass of the force is also expected to discuss the delay in the induction of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is being retrofitted in Russia and has been delayed due to mishaps in its boiler.