Ready to protect Indian interests in South China Sea: Navy Chief


The Indian Navy is preparing for the contingency that it could be called upon by the government to protect Indian economic interests in the disputed South China Sea, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi has said.

Expressing concern over the rapid modernisation of the Chinese forces, the top naval officer said the force was prepared to deploy assets if need be to protect Indian interests, particularly oil blocks allocated to it by Vietnam in the area.

"Not that we expect to be in those (South China Sea) waters very very frequently, but when the requirement is there, for example in situations where our country's interests are involved, for example ONGC Videsh etc, we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that. Are we preparing for it? Are we holding exercises of that nature? The short answer is yes," Admiral Joshi said, speaking on the eve of Navy Day.

The South China Sea dispute has seen an escalation after the Hainan province government empowered its marine police to seize and search all vessels operating in what China claims are its territorial waters.

Joshi also expressed major concern over rapid modernisation of the Chinese military. "The (Chinese) modernisation is truly impressive. Attitude I will not comment on. It is a major major cause of concern for us."

While the Navy chief downplayed the Chinese aircraft carrier programme, saying it would take time for their navy to learn to operate fighters from the sea, he said India is following the "aircraft carrier killer" ballistic missile developed by Beijing. He also hinted that India is looking at acquiring this capability. "We are evaluating it in our context — either acquire a similar capability or to think of a counter."

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.