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80 new warships in 5 years: India raises concern over China’s growing marine reach


New Delhi, Jan 10: China has added 80 new ships in the last five years to bolster its naval capability and the Chinese Navy is a force which is "here to stay", Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said Wednesday, amid concerns over Beijing's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Admiral Sunil Lanba

The Chinese Navy added 80 warships in last five years and is "a force which is here to stay", Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said during a session on Indo-Pacific at Raisina Dialogue.

"No navy has grown so rapidly in the last 200 years as the Chinese Navy," he said, adding the force has six to eight warships in the northern Indian Ocean.

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"Also, two years ago they commissioned their first overseas facility or base in Djibouti.

The stated aim of this deployment is to protect their trade which is flowing through this area from piracy. They have deployed submarines for anti-piracy operations which is the most unlikely platform to be used for this role," he said.

Admiral Philip S Davidson, Commander, US Info-Pacific Command, during the session, said the command's name was changed to Info-Pacific as the concept captures the shift in economic and military reality.

In response to a question on the Quad --comprising the US, India, Australia an Japan-- being seen as a strep to contain China, he said the Info-Pacific policy does not represent a containment policy.

"We are not asking the people to choose between us and China," Admiral Davidson said.

Lanba said the Quad comprised nations that stand for inclusive, free, rules-based order and commitment to honour international rules and agreements.The Quad would grow with time, he said.

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