India, US to track submarines in Indian Ocean

Submarines

In the backdrop of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s recent visit to India, the two countries had agreed to enhance cooperation in defence and security. Following the negotiations of the logistics pact, India and the US are in talks to help each other track submarines in the Indian Ocean. The move is expected to strengthen defence ties between the two countries as China steps up its ocean activities.

The US and India have expressed growing concerns at the assertion of Chinese navy in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean. China has been taking an increasingly assertive stance in the South China Sea and challenging India’s position in the Indian Ocean. New Delhi has begun to shed its reluctance to be drawn into America’s fold. It has agreed to open its military bases to US in exchange for access to weapon technologies to narrow the gap with China.

India and US navies will hold talks on anti submarine warfare (ASW), an area of sensitive military technology and closely held tactics that only allies share. “These types of basic engagements will be the building blocks for an enduring Navy-to-Navy relationship that we hope will grow over time into a shared ASW capability,” an unnamed US official said. Of late, Chinese submarines have been sighted near India’s waters especially in the Andaman and Nicobar islands that lie near the Malacca Straits. The region is the entry to the South China Sea through which more than 80 percent of China’s fuel supplies pass.

India and the US have already conducted joint naval exercises where both the countries tested the new version of the P-8 aircraft, making information sharing easier on highly sensitive submarine tracking activities. The P-8 aircraft is US’s most advanced submarine hunting weapon, equipped with sensors that can track submarines by sonar and other means.

While the US attack submarines have been tracking the Chinese nuclear armed submarines in the Pacific, China is expected to send its own attack submarines to the Indian Ocean in greater numbers to monitor patrolling by India.

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