In what could be a worrying development for India, several Chinese vessels have been detected in the Arabian Sea venturing close to coastal Mumbai and Gujarat.
According to The Free Press Journal, a senior naval officer confirmed the presence of 100-150 Chinese small ships. “We have deployed several frontline warships to thwart any movement from the other side,” the senior officer said.
The officer said that the Chinese vessels were just 200 nautical miles away, where India’s current exclusive economic zone (EEZ) ends.
India had recently submitted a petition to the United Nations (UN) to expand its EEZ to 500 nautical miles reasoning the grey zone policy of China is a huge threat to the Indian economy and national security on the west coast.
“These vessels cannot travel long distances and require constant refuelling. And Karachi is nearby,” the officer was quoted by The Free Press Journal.
According to the naval officer, the Chinese vessels can also work as ‘mini spy ships’, gathering information ranging from the location of a submarine to secret pipelines or activities in Indian ports.
China refutes allegations
Meanwhile, senior officials at the Embassy of China in New Delhi have denied any such move by their government. “We haven’t heard about the fishing vessels problem or complaints from the Indian side yet. Allow us to check the information and we will never hesitate to share,” press counsellor Wang Xiaojian was quoted by The Free Press Journal.