Scotching reports on the presence of 11 Chinese
warships in the Indian Ocean, the Indian navy has been quoted by newspaper
reports saying that these Chinese naval
ships were in different parts of the East Indian Ocean at different times and
none of them was spotted anywhere close to the Indian or Maldives coast.
Five People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ships
entered the Indian Ocean via Sunda strait "few days ago" but went
back via Lombok channel after conducting their own exercise in East Indian
In addition, three PLAN ships were deployed on
the anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden and another three were in Cape Town
on their return from the same place.
China has carried out anti-piracy patrol off
Somalia since 2013, while Indian Navy is doing the same job since 2008.
"There were never a congregation of 11
Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean, as reported by the British News agency
Reuters quoting Chinese news website Sina.com.cn. We have a very robust
surveillance system and strong maritime domain awareness," said a Navy
Since last June, as many as eight Indian warships
are on "mission-based deployment" at eight different locations in the
Indian Ocean. In addition, ships from the training command and Andaman command
are out at sea.
Moreover, nearly 40 ships and submarines of the
Western Fleet are out in the sea, too, as they conduct the tri service maritime
exercise Paschim Leher in the Arabian Sea. The exercise began on February 12
and will continue for a month.
"The exercise includes the participation of
a large number of ships, submarines and aircraft from the Western Naval Command
of the Indian Navy. Units from Eastern Naval Command, Indian Army, Indian Air
Force and the Coast Guard also participate to build interoperability," a
Navy spokesperson had stated last week in a statement.
The response from the Navy comes in the wake of a
report by a Chinese portal, which claimed the presence of 11 Chinese warships
including a frigate, a landing platform dock and a tanker in the Indian Ocean.
Subsequently, the Chinese report was quoted by other agencies that linked the
presence of the PLAN ships to the Maldives crisis.
Navy officials asserted no Chinese warships are
anywhere close to the Indian and Maldives cost. The maritime force keeps a
constant eye on the naval traffic in the Indian Ocean through a network of
sensors and radars and shipping information obtained from other nations.
Earlier this month, India asked China to play
"a constructive role" in the Maldives, after President Abdulla
Yameen's government in Male called upon Beijing to send troops to protect its
investment in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The Chinese website said a fleet of Chinese naval
destroyers and at least One Frigate, a 30,000 ton amphibious transport dock and
three support tankers entered the Indian Ocean without linking the development
to the crisis in Maldives or giving a reason.