China ship was in Andaman waters, its presence on rise in region: Navy Chief

Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh.

Confirming reports that a Chinese vessel was forced to retreat after it entered India’s Exclusive Economic Zone near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in September, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said Tuesday, “our stand is that if you have to do anything in our region, you notify us or take our permission”.

Addressing his annual press conference ahead of Navy Day Wednesday, Singh said China’s “presence in the Indian Ocean Region is increasing and we are constantly watching it”.

He said that on an average, “about seven to eight Chinese ships are available in this area, some under the anti-piracy escort group and some doing scientific research”. Sometimes, he said, Chinese vessels also enter Indian waters when they have satellite launches in the area.

The Chinese vessel which was forced to retreat in September had not taken permission or informed the Indian authorities. It was apparently conducting “research” near Port Blair. The issue has been taken up with the relevant authorities.

Asked whether the bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had affected the Chinese Navy’s behaviour, Singh said he had not “combined” the bilateral visits and naval activities, but “the fact is that their (China’s) naval activities have been continuing”.

Also Read | Navy drives away Chinese ship from Indian waters in Andaman Sea

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