Chinese Nuke Sub Had Docked Too Close for Indian Comfort
16:56 06.01.2017(updated 17:01 06.01.2017)
India may have to rework its maritime strategy because of heightened Chinese interest in its vicinity. The Indian strategic community is again aflutter over the visit of a PLA Navy submarine to Karachi.
New Delhi (Sputnik) – Another evidence of heightened Chinese activity not far from India's territorial waters has surfaced. A satellite image shows China's nuclear attack submarine docked at Karachi harbor in May last year. Images in Google Earth point to a Chinese Navy Type 091 'Han' class nuclear submarine that was deployed at Karachi harbor in May 2015. Earlier, the Indian Navy had claimed that China's PLA nuclear submarine was deployed and did a port call at Karachi but never mentioned the time frame of deployment. Government sources told Sputnik that an advanced version of Chinese submarine made a weeklong port call at Karachi.
"PLA nuclear submarine was deployed and did a port call at Karachi. As far as deployment of PLA navy, ships and submarines are concerned, we keep a close eye and monitor their movement. We launch surveillance missions in the form of aircraft and ships to keep a track of them," Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had said in December 2015.
The May 2015 deployment comes barely six months after the first-ever Indian Ocean deployment of China's Song-class submarine between September and November 2014, and its docking in Sri Lanka's Colombo port.
"In case of a maritime conflict in the area, China's energy shipments transiting the Indian Ocean are strategically vulnerable. Through its submarine deployments, China may be seeking to deter its potential adversaries against interdicting its Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) in the Indian Ocean," says Captain Gurmeet S Khurana, Executive Director at National Maritime Foundation.
This period of deployment at Karachi may be to showcase the submarine to Pakistan Navy before finalizing the deal to purchase eight submarines from China. These submarines are equipped with Sterling AIP system, which the Chinese claim is more efficient than the AIP systems currently available in the world.
"The deployments also likely to familiarize the PLA Navy with the new operational environment in the Indian Ocean, train them for distant missions, collect intelligence, and collate hydrographic data specific to the Indian Ocean, which is essential for future submarine operations in the region," Khurana added.
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