Expert: Chinese nuclear submarine enters Indian Ocean legally to defend "lifeline"

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-01-25 16:10

BEIJING, January 25 (ChinaMil) -- Foreign media reported that India will deploy two most advanced P-8I Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft at the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean.

Yin Zhuo, director of Chinese Navy Information Technology Advisory Committee, said in an interview with CCTV that India's action is not only to guard against China in the Indian Ocean, but also to keep alert against the military forces deployed by the U.S. and other western powers in that region.

India intensifies military deployment in Indian Ocean against China and western world

According to reports by foreign media, India will deploy two most advanced P-8I Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft at the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean. So far the eight P-8I aircraft that India bought from Boeing have all been commissioned in the navy.

With the patrol distance of 1,200 nautical miles and the speed of up to 907km/h, this kind of anti-submarine patrol aircraft, the Indian military claimed, are suitable for intelligence collection and reconnaissance missions in the Indian Ocean. The Indian military has also deployed the Israel-developed Searcher unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the two islands.

It is learnt that the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands are located between the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Reuters pointed out that this region is the best position to monitor the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

More importantly, some islets in the south of the islands are close to the north end of the Malacca Strait, which is the gateway to the Indian Ocean and the route for 3/4 of China's oil transportation.

The Times of India reported that because of the infighting of the Indian army, navy and air force, fund reduction and environmental concerns, only a 3,000-strong infantry brigade, 20 small military vessels and patrol boats and several M-8 helicopters are stationed at the Andaman Islands military base today.

To monitor China's activities in the Indian Ocean, the Indian military is planning to upgrade the base, including to prolong the 1,066.8m runway to 1,828.8m in 2016 and to 3,048m later. Moreover, the number of military vessels deployed there will be increased to 32 by 2022. India will also assign a second infantry brigade of about 3,000 people to the Islands in the next two years, according to the Times of India.

Yin Zhuo noted that India previously put forth the "Look East Policy", indicating its plan to enter the Pacific Ocean. As a big country and also a military power in the Indian Ocean, India wants to implement a strategy that covers both the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, so it attaches great importance to the naval base construction on the Andaman Islands and Nicobar Islands.

It also plans to deploy an aircraft carrier on the Andaman Islands to monitor the Malacca Strait and facilitate its entry into and exit from the Pacific Ocean. These moves are not only to guard against China in the Indian Ocean, but also keep alert against the military forces deployed by the U.S. and other western powers in that region, Yin stressed.

Entry of China's nuclear submarine into the Indian Ocean complies with international law and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

CCTV reported that China's normal activities in the Indian Ocean have always been groundlessly doubted by India. The news that Chinese submarine stopped at Sri Lanka's Colombo Harbour twice in September and November 2014 triggered strong reaction from India, and the fact that Chinese submarine stopped at Pakistan's Port of Karachi deepened India's suspicion and concern about China's intention of strengthening its military presence in the Indian Ocean.

In addition to introducing and deploying the P-8I anti-submarine patrol aircraft, India is also developing its own anti-submarine force.

On January 7, the second Kadmatt of the four planned P28 Kamorta-class frigates of the Indian Navy was commissioned. 109m long and with the top speed of 25 knots and full-load displacement of 3,200 tons, this type of frigate has the cruising ability of 3,400 nautical miles at the speed of 18 knots and can engage in anti-submarine operations in nuclear and biochemical environment.

Yin Zhuo pointed out that as international open waters, the Indian Ocean is free to all countries. India's deployment of P-8I and other anti-submarine frigates there indicates its concern for the security in that sea area, and China has always kept its activities there transparent.

Yin Zhuo added that before its submarine entered the Indian Ocean, China notified the United States, India and countries around the Malacca Strait. This notification system that keeps military activities transparent can help avoid misunderstanding.

According to Yin Zhuo, the voyage of submarine in the Indian Ocean is the legitimate action of a sovereign nation. The Indian Ocean is an interested area for China and the Indian Ocean route is the lifeline for China's oil transportation. China ships US$1,500 billion worth of goods along that route every year.

By assigning submarine to the Indian Ocean, China has not only demonstrated the great importance it attached to that shipping route, but also intends to carry out joint escort training with the escort taskforce. Its actions comply with the international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The author is Huang Zijuan, reporter from the People's Daily Online. The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and don't represent views of the China Military Online website.

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