‘Navy will intervene in South China sea, if required’

Outlining the Indian Navy's modernisation plans for South China sea and China's growing clout in the region, naval chief Admiral DK Joshi made it clear that "India will protect its interests in the disputed area, even if it means sending forces there."

Joshi said the Indian Navy is eying a big upgrade and its modernisation plan includes new aircraft carriers, stealth frigates, destroyers, corvettes, amphibious ships and submarines. "We would also be inducting state-of-the-art aircraft and helicopters to augment our surveillance and integral aviation capabilities," he said.

Talking about India's interests in South China Sea, Joshi said the first is of freedom of navigation. Whether the navy will provide protection to ONGC Videsh's assets in the area, Joshi said it will require a government approval.

"In certain sectors, ONGC Videsh has certain interests. It has energy exploration blocks, three in number, and since it is an area of Indian interest, the Indian Navy should a need be, would standby," he said. Modernisation and enhancement of the navy's capabilities is an ongoing process to meet emerging maritime threats. The naval chief pointed out that the preferred route for the modernisation is indigenisation.

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