New Delhi: In a worrying development, a Chinese spy ship disguised as a fishing trawler was tracked in the Indian Ocean recently, a report claimed on Wednesday.
The ship was detected near the coast of Little Anadaman.
It is believed that the ship had spent more than 20 days in the sensitive location before Indian radars could locate it.
While the Navy dispatched a ship as soon as the presence of the Chinese spy ship was confirmed, no action could be taken as the vessel was in international waters.
However, the Indian Navy ship did tail the Chinese vessel till it move towards Sri Lankan waters. The ship is reported to have docked at Colombo.
It is believed that the ship had as many as 22 laboratories on board.
Government sources say the Chinese ship had specific aims to map the Indian Ocean and collect Bathymetric data, which helps in submarine and aircraft carrier based operations.
The labs on board the ship are also believed to have been used to collect data on Ocean currents, the temperature at various depths and also underwater obstructions and obstacles. This information becomes crucial if one has to use torpedoes.
It is an open secret that both India and China are engaged in a race to assert their supremacy over the Indian Ocean region.
Also, China is currently building an aircraft carrier which could become operational by 2017. This data would then come handy for the Chinese Navy. While China may claim to use the carrier to secure shipping lanes, its presence in the Indian Ocean would be a serious military threat for India. With China already having an upper hand in the borders along the Himalayas, a reinforced Chinese Navy presence in the Indian Ocean would be a headache for New Delhi.
There are already concerns of Chinese vessels monitoring India’s missile programme.