New Delhi: In a move to expand its security ties with friendly neighbouring countries, India is sending a naval task force to the South China Sea later this month. Taking a bigger role to counter China following clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh last year.
India is also pulling the United States closer in an effort to counter China.
“The deployment of the Indian Navy ships seeks to underscore the operational reach, peaceful presence, and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain…” the navy said according to Reuters.
In a statement, the navy said that four ships, including a guided missile destroyer and a missile frigate, will be deployed for a two-month period to southeast Asia, the South China Sea, and the western Pacific.
The resource-rich waters of the South China Sea have been a point of dispute between China and the United States. China has in the past criticized for its multilateral military manoeuvres as destabilising to the region.
“These maritime initiatives enhance synergy and coordination between the Indian Navy and friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and commitment towards Freedom of Navigation at sea,” the Indian navy’s statement was quoted by Reuters.
India will take part in annual joint war drills involving the United States, Japan and Australia off the coast of Guam, the navy said.
Recently, the Biden administration said that the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan have come to an agreement in principle to build a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform aimed at improving regional connectivity.