Amid tensions with China, Indian Navy holds exercise in Andaman and Nicobar

Andaman-Nicobar: While tension still prevails on the Chinese border, India has started moves to increase pressure on China on all fronts. After lashing out at China over the South China Sea, India has begun comprehensive war exercises near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to show its influence in the Indo-Pacific sector. The Indian war exercises at the time when the US aircraft carriers have re-entered the South China Sea become significant.  

Along with warships, submarines, fighter jets and surveillance aircraft, thousands of soldiers from Eastern Naval Command and the Andaman Nicobar Command are participating in the exercises. Sources informed that Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Chief of the Eastern Naval Fleet, is leading the practices. It is being said that some of the warships deployed by India, in the Strait of Malacca, also are participating in the exercises. Andaman Nicobar Command is the only ‘Theatre Command’ in the Indian defence commands, which includes Army, Navy, Airforce and even the Coast Guard.  

The site chosen for the Indian war exercises is a crucial marine trade route for China. Most of the Chinese trade depends on freight movement through the Strait of Malacca. Blocking of this passage will stop most of Chinese exports and fuel imports. Therefore, China is trying to increase its naval deployment in the Indo-Pacific region for almost a decade.  

The Chinese effort to make use of ports in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka as bases seems to have fallen through, at least for now. But at the same time, dangerous movements of Chinese submarines in the Indo-Pacific region have been noted since the last few years. India has ramped up its Naval might considerably, to rein in the Chinese activities in the Indo-Pacific region. India has demonstrated its strength through joint naval exercises with the United States and Japan. The new war exercises are an effort to issue a strong warning to China along with a demonstration of naval might.   

China is making intrusion attempts into the Indian territory consistently since the last few months. The Indian Army foiled one such effort in June. Even after receiving a blow in the Galwan Valley, China has initiated moves to increase its military deployments in Ladakh and other regions. India has adopted an aggressive stand in the matter, and China has a policy to while away time. India has initiated other activities to increase pressure on China and the naval exercises at Andaman and Nicobar Islands is believed to be a part of the same efforts.  

The exercises started by India has the background of the tension between the United States and China over the South China Sea. The United States has dismissed all the Chinese claims regarding the South China Sea, saying that this region is a part of the open Indo-Pacific sector. At the same time, the United States has increased its deployment and exercises in the area, and two US aircraft carriers are currently active in the South China Sea. This is the second instance of the United States deploying its ‘Carrier Group’, along with the Aircraft carriers, in the South China Sea within 15 days. The United States has deployed aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan in the marine region near China. 

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