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Chinese Navy eyes Indian Ocean as part of PLA’s plan to extend its reach

Navy

Yulin: As the tension builds up in New Delhi over the increasing presence of PLA troop at Doklam, Chinese Navy wants to join hands with India to maintain the security of the Indian Ocean.

Throwing open its strategic South Sea Fleet (SSF) base in the coastal city of Zhanjiang to a group of Indian journalists for the first time, People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officials say the Indian Ocean is a common place for the international community.

“It is my opinion China and India can make joint contributions to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean,” Capt Liang Tianjun, Deputy Chief of General Office of China’s SSF said. His remarks came as China’s Navy embarked on a massive expansion to extend its global reach.

Liang also explained the growing forays of the Chinese warships and submarines into the Indian Ocean, where China for the first time established a naval base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

Defending the first Chinese overseas naval base against criticism that it would amplify China’s growing influence, he said it will act as a logistics centre and support anti-piracy, UN peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief missions in the region.

“The Indian Ocean is a vast ocean. It is common place for the international community to contribute to the peace and stability in the region,” Liang said.

Interacting with the Indian media on the decks of the PLAN’s frigate Yulin about Chinese growing presence at the Indian Ocean much to the disquiet of India, he said China’s military is defensive in nature and not offensive.

At the same time, he made it clear that China would never “intrude into other countries” but would also not “be obstructed by other countries”.

The Djibouti base will also provide a resting place for Chinese navy personnel, he said.

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