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January 27, 2015

US helping India keep tabs on Chinese submarines in Indian Ocean

 
The United States is regularly updating India on Chinese submarine deployments in the Indian Ocean. Last month, a US drone picked up a Chinese nuclear-powered attack submarine on the surface off Yemen. The information was relayed to the security establishment in New Delhi's South Block. China's deployment of submarines-three in the past year-in the Indian Ocean have worried Indian planners.
This intelligence cooperation with the US assumes significance in the light of the first-ever US-India joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region unveiled in New Delhi by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi, on January 25. China was not mentioned, but the vision document alluded to it by affirming 'the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea.'
Indian intelligence officials say they are keen on intelligence relating to terrorism emanating from Pakistan on its western borders and Chinese military activities.
Defence officials in New Delhi said that the Type 091 Han-class was 'running on the surface' accompanied by an escort which appeared to be a replenishment ship. The elderly 1970s vintage Han class attack submarine, is believed to be part of the 19th anti piracy task force that has been in the Gulf of Aden since December 10. This is the third such deployment of a submarine by the PLAN since 2013. Earlier, the docking of a Song-class submarine in Colombo in September and November last year created ripples in New Delhi. The PLAN terms these submarine deployments as routine and part of its anti-piracy patrols, an assertion that naval planners take with a pinch of salt.
Jayadeva Ranade, former joint secretary R&AW expects intelligence on China, particularly naval intelligence, as one area where both India and the US could gainfully cooperate. "The information supplied regarding the Chinese submarine in Colombo and later in the Indian Ocean are examples. I'm sure there is more that has been shared by the US about the route taken by the submarine, capabilities displayed, but I am not too sure whether the exchange of intelligence regarding our land borders with China has increased," he says.

indiatoday

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