New Delhi – The Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba underscored the increasing naval might of China saying, ‘China is spending enormous amounts of money on its defence forces. It is also modernising its forces and reorganising their command structure. China’s navy has commissioned nearly 80 warships in the last 10 years. No navy has grown so rapidly in the last 200 years as the Chinese Navy’. The India Navy chief made the statements while speaking at the Raisina Dialogue held in New Delhi.
Prominent officials from the navies of the United States, Australia and Japan had participated in the Raisina Dialogue. During the dialogue, the countries had serious discussions about the growing Chinese might and bullying in the Indo-Pacific sector. Also, while speaking on occasion, Admiral Sunil Lanba presented instances to demonstrate the rising Chinese naval strength. At the same time, the navy chief highlighted that under the pretext of countering piracy activities, deployment of 6 to 8 Chinese navy warships exists perpetually in the Indian Ocean region.
Two years ago, China had built and commissioned its first overseas base in Djibouti, located in the Indian Ocean region, the Admiral Lanba reminded. Also, Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), who was present at the dialogue expressed his candid opinion by mentioning that China’s activities in the maritime region were a matter of concern. ‘The United States would require to change its stance on the region due to China’s dominant stance. Also, the United States changed the name of its command from ‘Pacific Command’ to ‘Indo-Pacific Command’ indicating a shift in the geopolitical and military policies of the United States’, Admiral Davidson admitted.
At the Dialogue, when Admiral Davidson was asked whether the cooperation between the United States, India, Australia and Japan was established to stop China, he clarified that the United States had not asked the countries in the region to either choose China or the United States. The US Command chief through the statement hinted that China was the one proposing such extreme options to the countries in the region.
Meanwhile, the Japanese and Australian naval officials indicated that it had become imperative to eliminate the imbalance created due to the increasing Chinese naval might in the Indo-Pacific region. Furthermore, the Indian Navy chief clarified that India’s objective behind establishing increased cooperation with the United States and other countries is ‘security and stability’ of the Indo-Pacific region as also ensuring observance of the international regulations for freight movement. Admiral Lanba clarified India’s stand without making any direct mentions of these being the areas where China currently posed challenges.