Beijing: India has launched a naval diplomacy campaign to garner support from Australia, Japan and Vietnam for countering China's maritime expansion into the Indian Ocean, a Chinese official daily said on Wednesday.
State-run Global Times in its report on Indian Naval Ship (INS) Sahyadri's visit to Vietnam's port city Da Nang and Japan, said, "Vietnam and Japan are currently embroiled in territorial disputes with China in the South China and East China seas, respectively, and are very willing to partner with India to form diplomatic and security ties under the threat of Chinese maritime expansion."
"The three nations together would be able to form a coalition that could surround China from both the northern and southern regions of the Indian Ocean," it said.
As part of India's Look East and Act East Policy, indigenously built multi-role stealth frigate INS Sahyadri entered Vietnam's port city Da Nang on October 2 for a four-day visit.
The visit of INS Sahyadri was aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing inter-operational abilities between navies of India and Vietnam.
On departure from Da Nang, the ship proceeded to participate in the International Fleet Review at Sagami Bay in Japan.
The daily also highlighted Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R K Dhowan's visit to Australia to consolidate existing maritime cooperation initiatives, as well as explore new avenues.
"To prevent China from expanding its maritime power into the Indian Ocean, New Delhi has launched a naval diplomacy campaign to garner support from Australia, Japan and Vietnam," it said.
It said Admiral Dhowan's Australia's visit coincided with the prestigious annual Sea Power Conference organised by the Royal Australian Navy.
"Dhowan used the opportunity to engage with the heads of navies from 40 different countries around the globe. Australia is currently one of the staging bases for US military operations in the disputed South China Sea, where China has been building artificial islands in the face of competing claims from the Philippines and Vietnam, among other countries," the daily said.
India and Australia are both the members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, formed by 35 different littoral states in the Indian Ocean to maintain regional stability.
Australia and India held their first bilateral maritime exercise, known as Ausindex, off the coast of India last month.
China gets very sensitive about foreign naval vessels visiting countries along the South China Sea, where it has maritime disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan as well as East China Sea, where it locked in a dispute with Japan over uninhabited islands.