Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Tuesday said that a Chinese research ship was recently driven away from Indian waters near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as it did not have permission to move there.
“Our stand is that if you have to do anything in our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), you have to notify us and take permission,” Singh said at his annual press conference ahead of Navy Day on December 4.
As per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a country’s EEZ extends to 200 nautical miles from its coast and it has sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources in this sea zone.
The Chinese vessel, Shi Yan 1, was found carrying out some activities near Port Blair in September when it was asked to go away.
Singh said the navy was keeping track of Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean region. “They have been given areas for deep-sea mining.
Chinese oceanographic research vessels are there in the Indian Ocean region. At any given time, seven to eight Chinese vessels are there in the region, including the ones involved in the anti-piracy role,” Singh said.
India will be hosting the multi-nation Milan exercise off the east coast next year for which 41 countries have been invited. China, however, has not been invited.
Singh said India had invited only like-minded countries. “We haven’t even done a passage exercise with the Chinese navy. With the other countries, we have better interoperability,” the navy chief explained.
The exercise was earlier staged off Port Blair but has been moved to Vizag as “the east coast has better bandwidth,” he said.
Singh also highlighted that the navy needed more funds for pursuing its modernization program as its share of the defense budget had declined from 18% to 13% during the last five years. He said the navy had projected the requirement of additional money to the government.
Asked to comment on the swift modernization of the Chinese navy, he said China was moving at the pace it was capable of and the Indian Navy was taking steps at the pace it was capable of.
(With inputs from hindustantimes)