New Delhi: India’s Rukmini Naval Satellite has picked up the presence of a Chinese naval surveillance ship in the Indian Ocean as the two regional giants remain locked in a standoff in the Doklam area of the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction.
The HaiwangXiang is China’s latest surveillance ship which seems to have been sent to monitor the Malabar Exercise between the United States, Japan and India. The naval exercise will be held in the Bay of Bengal from July 10.
Satellite imagery expert Col (Retd) Vinayak Bhatt, who tweets with the handle @rajfortyseven, said the presence of such sophisticated warship is “clearly an offensive maneuver”. According to him, HaiwangXiang is a specially designed naval platform for intelligence gathering. It has four ray domes and has four drones onboard for the extended range of information gathering. The ship has the capability to track radio communication and can detect any ballistic missile deployment or fighter movement in a large radius of area, he said.
India has also stepped up surveillance of the Doklam area via real-time satellite imagery to monitor any movement of Chinese troops and daily images from ISRO’s CartoSat series are being shared with the government, defence sources told CNN-News18. Local troops are also videographing on-ground activities, they added.
According to Col (Retd) Bhatt, in the last few years, India has done very well in the field of satellite monitoring. In fact, satellites of CartoSat series are able to provide real-time images of sub-meter resolution. Therefore, India has at par capabilities with any leading country, he said.
The standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries was triggered when the Indian Army blocked the construction of a road by China in the Doklam area.
Doka La is a pass in India which adjoins the Dokalam platue in Bhutan. China is also embroiled in a dispute with Bhutan over Dokalam.
Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Doklam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the area. Bhutan, however, has no diplomatic ties with China and it is supported militarily and diplomatically by India.
India on June 30 expressed deep concern over China constructing the road in the disputed area and said it had conveyed to Beijing that such an action would represent a significant change of status quo with "serious" security implications for India.
India has pushed in more troops in a “non-combative mode” to strengthen its position in the area. This is the longest standoff between the two armies since 1962. The last one, which carried on for 21 days, occurred at Daulat Beg Oldie in the Ladakh division of Jammu and Kashmir in 2013, when Chinese troops entered 30 km into Indian territory till the Depsang Plains and claimed it to be a part of its Xinjiang province.