India keeping ‘very close watch’ on Chinese vessels in Indian Ocean Region, says Navy Chief

India is keeping a “very close watch” at the large presence of Chinese vessels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and other developments in the region to protect its national interests in the maritime domain, Navy Chief, Admiral R Hari Kumar, said on Saturday.

During an interaction at The Chanakya Dialogue, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Admiral Kumar said the Navy is aware that the Chinese PLA Navy is docking its ships at ports in Pakistan and at ports of other countries.

Stating that a certain amount of contest is taking place daily at sea, the Navy chief said while it is well below the threshold of conflict, the possibility of a full-fledged war cannot be ruled out. On the pace of modernisation of Pakistan Navy or PLA Navy, he said the former is looking to become a 50-platform force in 10-15 years and adding new corvettes and frigates to their fleet, while the latter has commissioned many ships and submarines in the last decade.

He said a third aircraft carrier is under construction and the PLA Navy is working on much larger destroyers, but this could plateau in sometime. “We are keeping a very close watch in the Indian Ocean Region,” he said. The Navy chief said the effort is to know who is present there and what they are up to. He said it is monitored 24×7 and the Navy and we deploy aircraft, UAVs, ships, submarines towards that.

“At any point of time, there are three to six Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean Region,” he said.

He said some are close to the Gulf of Oman, and some in the eastern part of the IOR, among others.

He said two to four Chinese research vessels are always present in the region, and there is a presence of Chinese fishing vessels as well here. “So we refine our plans, actions that are required to be taken, and this also feeds into our capability development,” the Navy chief said.

Elaborating on Chinese research vessels, Admiral Kumar said they can track and collect electronic signals, and the Navy tracks them, especially when they are operating close to India’s areas of interest. He said the modernisation plans of the Navy involve making it a “well-balanced force”, and it is thus not about nuclear submarine vis-a-vis aircraft carriers, given that both have their own unique capabilities and they are not either/or.

Admiral Kumar reiterated that the Navy will be fully Atmanirbhar by 2047, which marks the 100th year of India’s Independence. Talking about the three components to a naval asset — float, move and fight — he said nearly 95 per cent self-reliance has been achieved in the float component, while in move and flight components, it is about 65 percent and 55 per cent.

He explained that the Navy’s role is set to grow with the Indian economy in the future, with the volume of trade multiplying with it.

In a separate interaction, IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari said the IAF, in future, will have space-based offensive systems as well, leading to reduced response time and greater effect on adversaries.

He said the fundamental utilisation of space for military purposes includes Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and communication and this has seen a quantum jump in their capabilities in the last several years.

Separately, referring to a difficult evacuation operation in Sudan on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, where a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft rescued 121 people from a small airstrip at Wadi Seidna, the Air Chief told the media later that the IAF carried out the operation in the most difficult situation. “My kudos to the crew who executed this mission so flawlessly,” he said.

On the ongoing Operation Kaveri, he said IAF has already carried out 11 sorties and evacuated 1,850 civilians from Khartoum and Port Sudan and is on standby at Jeddah for more such operations.

In a separate session earlier in the day, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan said there is a major change underway in the global order and the global security environment currently is in a state of flux and the new order is yet to crystallise.

“Post-World War-II, the Trans-Atlantic Anglo-Saxon lands could not unite around Europe the way the Russian invasion of Ukraine has done,” he said. He said Russia and China are getting closer and Iran is joining this bandwagon.

Stating that India is the third largest ecosystem for start-ups globally, CDS Chauhan said the country is expected to be the fourth-largest economy by 2024, overtaking Germany.


  • Adam Gray

    Adam Gray is an experienced journalist with a passion for breaking news and delivering it to the masses. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has covered everything from local stories to national events, earning a reputation for his accuracy, reliability, and attention to detail. As a reporter, Adam is always on the lookout for the next big story, and his dedication to uncovering the truth has earned him the respect of his peers and readers alike. When he's not chasing down leads, Adam can be found poring over the latest headlines, always on the lookout for the next big scoop. Contact [email protected]

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