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India, China inch closer on maritime security issue

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Forum' started by arp2041, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. arp2041

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    In the face of overlapping strategic interests in the Indian Ocean Region and South China Sea, India and China on Thursday inched forward on the issue of maritime cooperation as both sides agreed to set up groups to facilitate exchange of information pertaining to maritime trade and security so that the competition does not escalate into a full-blown conflict.

    Last year, the aggressive People’s Liberation Army (PLA)-Navy’s stance towards an Indian naval warship passing through South China Sea after giving visiting Vietnam, prompted both countries to put in place a maritime protocol to avoid skirmishes in high seas, something on the lines of arrangement between the US and the USSR during the peak of Cold War.

    “India would set up an inter-ministerial group on its side while China would have an official team that would periodically exchange view of maritime issues relating to trade and security,” officials said. The decision was taken during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s talks with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the Rio+2- summit at Rio de Janeiro.

    Calling for a de-escalatory mechanism in case of any “misunderstandings”, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma had said in December 2011 that such a “maritime protocol” was “under examination” by the government. India already has an arrangement with China to deal with incidents at the 4,057 km-long land border, be it the intrusions of patrol parties with the latter, when border personnel hold talks at the local unit levels.

    In 2011 amphibious assault Ship INS Airavat sailing at South China Sea had been threatened over the radio by a person identifying the area as Chinese territory and asking the Indian warship to back off. Earlier in 2009, China claimed its warships had forced an Indian submarine to surface after it was allegedly found tracking the movement of the Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean when these were on their way to join the anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden.

    India was also doing oil exploration in the South China Sea after purchasing the rights from Vietnam in a region claimed by China. Moreover, the increasing trade volume of China passing through Indian Ocean Region has translated into Beijing deploying more assets in the region to ensure security of its Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs). This perpetual alignment of trade interests has made Indian and Chinese navies to join hands in the Gulf of Aden to counter the menace of piracy.

    defence eXpress: India, China inch closer on maritime security issue