India keeping close tabs on Chinese spy vessel in Indian Ocean, while ballistic missile test planned for next week likely to be deferred | India News

NEW DELHI: Another Chinese space-monitoring and research vessel is currently strolling in the Indian Ocean Region at a time when India is testing a missile in the Bay of Bengal. The arrival of a similar Chinese spy ship at Hambantota port in August led to a major diplomatic spat between India and Sri Lanka.
The Yuan Wang-6 vessel weighs more than 22,000 tons, is equipped with large antennas, advanced monitoring equipment and sensors capable of electronic tracking, monitoring satellite launches and tracking the trajectory of ballistic missiles. long-range mission, flew off the coast of Bali in Indonesia very early. Friday morning.
The Indian Navy has “closely monitored” Yuan Wang-6, the force under the command of the People’s Liberation Army’s Strategic Support Force with a crew of about 400, since she joined IOR through Indonesia’s Sunda Strait a few days ago, defense establishment sources told TOI.
India had previously issued a NOTAM (notice to pilots) with an extended no-fly zone over the Bay of Bengal for a long-range ballistic missile test on Nov. 10-11. A missile hit The new AD-1 interceptor for Phase II of the indigenous two-stage ballistic missile defense (BMD) system was also tested from Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha just two days ago.
But the user testing of ballistic missiles of the Agni series by Strategic Force Command Next week can now be postponed. “In the past, China regularly sent such spy ships to the IOR to gather technical intelligence, usually around the time of Indian missile tests. Such ships can monitor the speed, accuracy and range of ballistic missiles,” one source said.
At the beginning of August, India conveyed its serious concerns to Sri Lanka about the docking of Yuan Wang-5 in the country’s southern port of Hambantota. This initially led to Colombo to delay the docking but then conversely allowed it from 16 to 22 August. The United States also raised a red flag about the presence of Chinese ships in Hambantota.
Of course, there is nothing India can do about the constant presence of Chinese warships and research vessels in the IOR, with all nations enjoying freedom of navigation in international waters. Chinese survey ships also regularly visit the IOR to produce oceanographic maps and other data useful for maritime and submarine operations, among other purposes.
The larger strategic concern for India is that China is steadily consolidating its use of Hambantota – which it obtained on a 99-year lease for commercial purposes in 2017 using the main debt trap – with their warships and submarines for logistics. additional.
China already has the largest economy in the world Navy with 355 warships and submarines, and has been actively searching for logistics bases in the IOR after establishing its first overseas base at Djibouti on the Horn of Africa in August 2017.
In addition to the available access to Karachi and Gwadar ports in Pakistan, China is seeking operational turnaround facilities for its warships and submarines from Cambodia, Seychelles and Mauritius to East African countries in the IOR, as TOI previously reported.


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