The announcement that warships have been deployed in the South China Sea comes despite speculation from local analysts that India would not make a great effort to assert its presence in the maritime sphere because a lot of money has already been allocated to secure its land border with China.
India has announced that a task force of the Eastern Naval Fleet – consisting of a guided missile destroyer, a guided missile frigate, an anti-submarine corvette and a guided missile corvette – has been deployed for two months in the South China Sea, South-East Asia and western Pacific.
In a rare statement, the Indian defence ministry said that this deployment seeks to highlight the “operational reach, peaceful presence and solidarity with South-East Asian countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain”.
The warships are scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises with the Royal Malaysian Navy, Vietnamese Peoples’ Navy, Philippines Navy, Singapore Navy, Indonesian Navy and Royal Australian Navy (AUS-INDEX). Aside from Beijing, the contested waters of the South China Sea are claimed by a number of countries, such as the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
“Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies, to build military relations and develop interoperability in conduct of maritime operations,” the statement added.
The announcement comes days after…