Indian Navy Prepared to Defend Its Interest in South China Sea
In a major assertion of maritime power, Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi said that the Indian Navy was prepared to defend Indian assets in the South China Sea .
“Not that we expect to be in those waters very frequently, but when the requirement is there for situations where the country’s interests are involved, for example ONGC Videsh, we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that,” he told media in the capital on the eve of Navy Day.
He said the navy was holding exercises for such contingencies: “Are we holding exercises for that nature? The short answer is yes,” Admiral Joshi said. ONGC Videsh (OVL) had acquired three oil blocks in the South China Sea off Vietnam in 2011. Oil had started flowing from one of these blocks, Admiral Joshi said.
The Indian navy has so far restricted its sphere of influence to the Indian Ocean region from the Gulf of Aden to the Malacca Straits. The navy chief’s statement could mark a shift in that policy particularly with an assertive China.