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March 15, 2019

Chinese presence in Indian Ocean a challenge: India

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March 15, 2019

LONDON: Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said that China's growing presence in the northern part of the Indian Ocean is a challenge for India but New Delhi is keeping a close eye on the deployment of Chinese ships and submarines in the region.

Admiral Lanba, who is on a four-day visit to Britain, also said that no nation has invested as much as China in shipbuilding, international media reported.

The growing presence of the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean where it already acquired a logistic base at Djibouti has aroused concerns in India besides acquisition of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease.

“No nation has invested as much as China in shipbuilding. It is a challenge; we keep a close eye on their presence and deployments... it is here to stay,” he said during a conversation at the Institute of Strategic Studies in London on Wednesday.

He referred to the presence of an estimated six to eight Chinese naval ships in the northern part of the Indian Ocean at any given time as well as submarines.

Admiral Lanba, during a discussion on ‘Martime strategy and its contribution to the Indo-Pacific and global commons’, said India sees “no post-Brexit challenges” but only opportunities for greater synergies with the UK in naval cooperation.

“Over the years, our multi-faceted bilateral relations have grown from strength to strength to a sustained and mutually beneficial friendship.

We have a common perspective on maritime challenges and agree to developing a cooperative framework to face them,” Admiral Lanba said.

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