New Delhi: India is keenly watching China's increasing presence in the Indian Ocean region, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh said on Tuesday, assuring that India is capable of thwarting any threat.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the Navy Day celebrations on December 4, Singh said: "China has increased presence in the Indian Ocean since 2008. We are keenly watching them."
"There are Chinese oceanographic research vessels in the exclusive economic zone. On an average, seven to eight vessels are present near this zone. They are here sometimes to carry out mining, sometimes as an anti-piracy squad," said Singh, adding that the Indian Navy carries out whatever prompt action is needed.
He said one of the vessels, named Shi Yan 1, was driven away by the Navy since it was in Indian water without permission.
Admiral Karambir Singh also stressed that the India Navy is fully aware about Pakistan's intention in the Indian Ocean region.
"We also know about the intelligence input that terror groups are planning to enter India through sea routes. We have put an adequate defence mechanism to thwart any threats," Singh said.
The Navy chief added that the force’s long-term plan is to have three aircraft carriers. He said India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier will be fully operational by 2022 and will have MiG-29K aircraft.
He also noted that the Navy's annual budget allocation has come down from 18 per cent to 12 per cent in the last five years.