China to deploy range of naval ships in Indian Ocean
Riled by reports of the US sharing intelligence with India over movements of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean, China on Thursday said it would deploy "different kinds of naval ships" depending on requirements of operations and other nations "need not read too much into it".
Beijing: Riled by reports of the US sharing intelligence with India over movements of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean, China on Thursday said it would deploy "different kinds of naval ships" depending on requirements of operations and other nations "need not read too much into it".
Asked about reports that US is providing intelligence to India about movement of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean, Chinese military spokesman Col Yang Yujin told a media briefing here that China is deploying its naval fleet on escort missions in anti-piracy operations in Gulf of Aden and Somalia under UN resolution of 2008.
The reports of sharing submarine intelligence coincided with the recent visit of US President Barack Obama to India.
"I read the report you have mentioned. We have notified relevant countries about the escort missions of the Chinese PLA Navy ships including submarines," he said without specifying countries to whom Beijing provided information.
"In future, Chinese military will send different kinds of naval ships to take part in the naval escort in accordance with change of situation and the requirement of the task. These are quite normal activities and there is no need to read too much into them," he said without elaborating.
China is currently conducting the sea trials of its first aircraft carrier Liaoning amid reports that it plans to build three more.
It is not clear whether China plans to deploy the aircraft carrier too for anti-piracy operations.
To another question as to why China has to deploy submarines for anti-piracy operations in Indian Ocean aimed at targeting pirates, Yang said different vessels play a different role in such missions.
The deployment of Chinese submarines had raised concerns in India.
"It is true that China has sent naval ships to far-seas and conducted many operations including the naval escort and anti pirate missions," he said.
They also provide humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and search and rescue in international waters.
"By doing so Chinese navy is providing more international service helping with peace and stability in the open seas," he said.
The Chinese submarines caused a major diplomatic row between India and Sri Lanka last year after a nuclear submarine for the first time docked at Colombo port in November when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power.
It docked at Colombo port being built with USD 1.5 billion assistance again while returning from its mission.
China defended the move saying that it is nothing unusual and it is a common practice for submarines to stop for refuelling in overseas ports.
The controversial port city project being fully funded by China has come under criticism from the present government of newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena which said it is reviewing its environmental impact.
It is not clear whether the new Sri Lankan government would permit the docking of Chinese naval vessels at its ports in future considering its efforts to improve the island nation's relations with India.