China says reports which suggested India had warned Sri Lanka about the visit of Chinese submarines to Sri Lanka were “unfortunate” and that Chinese naval vessels in the international waters of the Indian Ocean should not be taken as a threat.
Zhou Bo, honorary fellow at the Academy of Military Science, the top Chinese Peoples Liberation Army think-tank in Beijing said that India, like China, is growing with strength and if growth of strength indeed brings confidence, a stronger India should be broad-minded, India Today reported.
“Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean are no secret,” he added. “In fact, they passed visibly through the Strait of Malacca with other Chinese naval ships sailing to the Gulf of Aden. Some in India argue that anti-piracy doesn’t need a submarine and China is practicing long-range deployments of its nuclear and conventional submarines on the pretext of anti-piracy. However, in 2010, a Dutch submarine under NATO command was deployed to combat piracy off the east coast of Africa. The submarine was used to monitor communications between pirate vessels and their warlords on shore.”
At the same time, he played down the likelihood of any clashes between the increasingly overlapping Indian and Chinese navies. “If there can’t be an all-out war between China and India, how can the Chinese and Indian navies have war at sea?” he asked. “And if the disputed border has remained peaceful for more than half a century, how can anyone prove that the two countries are going to have a war at all?”
Zhou pointed to the increasing naval exchanges between the two countries, with four Indian vessels visiting Shanghai five years ago – one of the biggest such foreign visits, Chinese officials said at the time – and Indian ships also participating in a fleet review in Qingdao last year. Chinese ships have also been invited to take part in a fleet review in India next year for the first time. (Colombo Gazette)