Indian Navy has approved a major programme that will upscale the warships deployment in the Indian Ocean region.
According to latest media reports, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has given nod for the programme that will see as many as 15 warships, aircraft and patrol vessel would be deployed across the Indian Ocean Region that stretches from the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait.
The development to expand naval footprint in the geostrategic region is seen as an effort by the Narendra Modi government to check China.
Beijing has been flexing military muscle and various sightings of Chinese warships and intelligence gathering vessels in the Indian Ocean were reported earlier in May and June.
In July, China opened its first overseas base in Djibouti. The small-yet-significant location of this East African nation means that China has better access in the Horn of Africa.
In September, China also conducted first military drill in Djibouti. State television CCTV showed armoured vehicles moving on a desert track, groups of soldiers firing automatic weapons, and cannon pointing towards the horizon.
Dozens of soldiers have been deployed in temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius “to reinforce their hardiness in combat and their mastery of military techniques”, the report said.
“This is the first time that officers and soldiers stationed in Djibouti have left their camp to conduct live-fire exercises,” Liang Yang, the base commander, told the broadcaster.
Indian Navy’s new deployment plan will see ‘mission-ready warships’ along critical sea lanes and ‘choke points’.
At present, the Indian Navy has 138 warships and 235 aircraft and choppers.
The Navy is also stepping-up its cooperation with other navies in the region through a series of exercises and special drills.