On 3 July, the Indian Navy’s INS Kiltan took a quick stop in the Philippines as part of its deployment in the Indo-Pacific Region. This came after a successful military drill conducted between the Indian warship and a South Korean naval vessel in the East China Sea. Since it joined the Indian Navy in 2017, the INS Kiltan has been a significant pillar in India’s Act East Policy at a time when the maritime sub-regions in the Pacific have been subject to China’s assertive actions.
On 20 June, Japan said that two Chinese coast guard ships had entered the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. This happened several times in April and May too, as reported by WION, leading to reinvigorated tensions between the two East Asian countries.
Moreover, China’s strategic designs to project power and increase influence in the South China Sea are also concerning given the call for readiness for a “people’s war at sea” by China’s defence minister, General Chang Wanquan.
INS Kiltan and India’s Act East Policy
The indigenously built INS Kiltan is an anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette. The warship is the third of four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28. According to a Ministry of Defence press release, the INS Kiltan “portrays the growing capability of the Indian Navy and the significance of Make in India in the defence sector”.
The INS Kiltan is India’s first major naval ship to contain a superstructure of carbon fibre composite material. This allows for more enhanced stealth features and lower costs for overall maintenance.