India keeping a close eye on China-Pak military ties: Navy Chief

Robin DhowanAmidst Islamabad’s decision to buy eight nuclear submarines from Beijing, India’s Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan came out with a cautionary statement that India was keeping a close eye on the growing military cooperation between the two‘all weather friends’.

“We have our eyes firmly set on our waters of interest. The navy is a multi-dimensional combat force and we are looking at all aspects related to sea control and sea denial amid the unfolding developments in the region,” he said.
His comments came ahead of China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, which will see the finalization of eight diesel-electric nuclear submarine deals, along with agreements worth $46 billion, for constructing roads, railways and power plants over the next 15 years. The submarine deal will strengthen Pakistan’s underwater warfare capability,which currently has five French submarines, and two more manufactured back in 1970s.

The submarines, likely to be exported to Pakistan within a year, will bring them on par with India, which currently possesses 14 nuclear submarines. India has rapidly increased its influence in the Indian Ocean Region, but continues to lags behind the Chinese, which possess close to 60 nuclear submarines, including nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missiles submarines.

Admiral Dhowan underlined, “The navy is closely tracking the developments in the Chinese navy and keeping an eye on their deployment patterns in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).”

The navy chief said Beijing has developed a string of ports, power plants and highways in the Indian Ocean, costing billions of dollars, in the last decade. India too is aiming at boosting its underwater strength by inducting 24 submarines, including six nuclear-powered attack vessels, by 2030, taking the total to 38 submarines.

Last week, India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had also cautioned against Pakistani navel expansion, and said it would become “a weakness in India’s armour of controlling the ocean”.

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