India is sending its warships to the South China Sea even as its soldiers remain engaged in a stand-off with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army along the disputed boundary between the two nations in the Himalayas.
A task force of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy will soon proceed on an overseas deployment to South East Asia, the South China Sea and the Western Pacific for over two months. The task force comprising four Indian Navy warships will have bilateral drills with the navies of Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Australia and Indonesia, which all have maritime disputes with China.
It will also sail to Western Pacific to take part in the ‘Malabar 21’, a multilateral drill by the navies of the ‘Quad’ – a coalition forged by India, Australia, Japan and the United States to counter the hegemonic aspirations of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Indian Navy task force will comprise its guided-missile destroyer ‘Ranvijay’, guided-missile frigate ‘Shivalik’, anti-submarine corvette ‘Kadmatt’ and guided-missile corvette ‘Kora’.
The ‘Shivalik’, ‘Kadmatt’ and ‘Kora’ are indigenously designed and ‘Made in India’ and equipped with a versatile array of weapons and sensors, according to a press release issued by the Indian Navy on Monday, adding that the warships were being sent to enhance “military cooperation with friendly countries”