Indian Defence News [View All Articles]

‘We need to talk’: call for Chinese and Indian navies to communicate

The Chinese and Indian navies should establish communication because they are increasingly operating within close proximity, according to India’s ambassador to China.

While the two nations’ militaries communicated extensively, it was mainly between their land forces, and that should be extended to the navies and air forces, Vikram Misri said.

“We need to talk about the two air forces and the two navies – especially the two navies – because we are operating in the same waters and increasingly in the coming years, we will be meeting more and more in common waters,” Misri said.

“I think it is important for us to develop those levels of understanding and communication,” he said. “There are some [navy and air force] exchanges now, but not as well developed as in the case of the land force.”

China and India have made efforts to repair their relations since a tense stand-off at the Doklam plateau two years ago, when communications between their forces along the border were seen as inadequate to contain the tension.

Misri said the two nations had made incremental progress, and opened new points where “border personnel can meet and exchange information, or exchange views about any particular situation”.

The ambassador was visiting the Indian consulate in Hong Kong over the weekend, six months after taking up the post and six weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected.

He said preparations were under way for Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit India, which was expected to happen in the fourth quarter, after they pledged earlier to strengthen cooperation.

Tensions between China and India have periodically flared along their 4,000km (2,485-mile) border, resulting in a brief war in 1962. Relations have also been strained by China’s ties with Pakistan, and India’s concern over China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean.

India has also not signed on to China’s global trade and infrastructure strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative, which has projects that run through the disputed Kashmir region.

“Our concerns with regards to this particular initiative are very clear, and we have continued to share them very, very frankly with our Chinese partners,” Misri said. “I think there is understanding on the part of our Chinese partners with regard to this.”

But he said the two nations should not let their differences evolve into disputes, and they should focus on areas where they can cooperate.

One such area was maritime and investment cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including infrastructure and disaster response. The US in recent years has focused on the Indo-Pacific region, and has asked its allies to send naval vessels to the area as a counterbalance to Beijing.

“We have made the point that our vision of the Indo-Pacific is not a strategy, which sometimes is a concern on the part of some partners, aimed against any particular country,” Misri said. “It is definitely not a military alliance in any format.

“It is on the other hand a vision that aims at economic and development cooperation with our partners in the Indo-Pacific space,” he said, adding that India was discussing such cooperation with China.

He also said trilateral meetings between China, India and Russia would become more regular after their three leaders met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan last month, when they vowed to uphold multilateralism.

Those meetings would allow the nations to address challenges facing the international trading system and pushback against globalisation, but Misri said they should not be seen as a bid to counter the US, which is also involved in a trade battle with India.

Defence News Poll
OPINION : Will Pakistan be blacklisted by FATF ?

View Result  |  Archive