Soon after the June 15 clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in East Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, the Indian Navy stealthily deployed its frontline warship in the South China Sea.
The audacious move has rankled the Chinese, who have expressed displeasure over the decision during recent bilateral talks to deescalate tensions between the two neighbouring nations.
China has been objecting to the presence of the Indian Navy warships in the South China region for years, although the country itself has been expanding its presence there since 2009, by building artificial islands and increasing military deployment.
China claims most of the South China Sea waters to be under its territory.
News agency ANI quoted government sources as saying: “Soon after the Galwan Valley clash broke out - in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed - the Indian Navy deployed one of its frontline warships to the South China Sea where the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) objects to the presence of any other force claiming the majority of the waters as part of its territory.”
The Indian Navy warship was reportedly in constant touch with their American counterparts using secure communication systems during its deployment in the South China Sea.
The Indian Navy had also deployed vessels along the Malacca Straits (used by Chinese merchant navy) near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and at the area used by the Chinese Navy vessels to enter the Indian Ocean Region. The purpose of the development was to keep a check on nefarious activities.
The Indian Navy has reportedly been planning to acquire and deploy autonomous underwater vessels and other unmanned systems to monitor the movement of PLAN in the region around Malacca Straits leading to the Indian Ocean Region.