India sent warships to the Bien Dong Sea shortly after border clashes with China

Sources revealed that the Indian Navy sent warships to the Bien Dong Sea (internationally called South China Sea) after tensions escalated with China at the border in June.
August 31, 2020 | 13:10
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US, Japan and Australia warships in the joint exercises in the Philippine Sea on July 21 (Photo: the U.S. Naval Forces Japan)

In an article named "Post-Galwan clash, Indian Navy quietly deployed warship in South China Sea" published on August 30, ANI News agency stated that two months after disputes in Galwan area, the Indian Navy sailed out its frontline warship for deployment in the South China Sea, while the Chineses have long been objecting Indian navy's presence in the region.

India's role in the Bien Dong Sea

Bien Dong Sea plays a crucial part in the international trading routes, where Indians have sailed for well over 1,500 years. According to Indian Express, nearly $200 billion of this country's trade passes through the Bien Dong Sea, which implies the Bien Dong Sea is essential for Indian economic well-being, as well as international position. Besides, India has been involved with ASEAN nations and most importantly, the US in high-level engagements, leading to this country's responsible for ensuring freedom of navigation, peace, and security of this region.

According to research by the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS), India’s role and strategic cooperation with ASEAN is increasingly vital in the context of a more dominant China. India’s enhanced role in the region is not only expected to be beneficial to the maritime countries surrounding the Bien Dong Sea, but also to serve India’s own interests. As mentioned above, freedom of navigation in the SCS is crucial to India, as fifty-five percent of India’s trade depends on the safety of this passageway and outlines an ‘unimpeded rite of passage’.

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Months after the Galwan Valley clash which left 20 Indian soldiers dead in eastern Ladakh, the India Navy has dispatched one of its frontline warships to the South China Sea. (Photo: India Today)

India strengthens its presence in the Bien Dong Sea after Galwan disputes

"Soon after the Galwan clash broke out in which 20 of our soldiers were killed, the Indian Navy deployed one of its frontline warship to the South China Sea where the People's Liberation Army's Navy objects to the presence of any other force claiming the majority of the waters as part of its territory," government sources ANI.

The immediate deployment of the Indian Navy warship in the South China Sea had a desired effect on the Chinese Navy and security establishment as they complained to the Indian side about the Indian warship's presence there during the diplomatic level talks with the Indian side, the sources said.

As part of the routine drills, the Indian warship was being constantly updated about the status of the movement of military vessels of other countries there, they said adding that the entire mission was carried out in a very hush-hush manner to avoid any public glare on Navy's activities.

The sources said the Indian Navy is fully capable of checking any misadventure by the adversaries on either the eastern or the western front and the mission-based deployments have helped it to control the emerging situations effectively in and around the Indian Ocean Region.

The Navy also has plans to urgently acquire and deploy autonomous underwater vessels and other unmanned systems and sensors to keep a close eye on the movement of PLAN from Malacca Straits towards the Indian Ocean Region, the sources said.

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Picture of an Indian Warship (Photo: ANI)

India - US cooperation: Major actor on the Bien Dong Sea

The Indian warship is constantly maintaining contact with their American counterparts who were operating on the other edge of the South China Sea, much to the chagrin of China.

During the deployment in the South China Sea, where the American Navy had also deployed its destroyers and frigates, the Indian warship was continuously maintaining contact with their American counterparts over secure communication systems, NDTV informed.

For the Chinese government, the South China Sea holds an important place and they don't like the presence of any other countries' warships in the disputed region, India Today cited.

Sources said that the Indian side while deploying its warship in the South China Sea region, was very clear that in view of the rising hostilities in the eastern Ladakh sector there was the possibility that the Chinese might stop them from doing so.

Earlier this year, "Quad" members, including the US, India, Japan, and Australia carried out military exercises in the Philippine Sea and the Indian Ocean. Notably, their warship groups passed through China's illegally claimed territories on the way of moving between the two drill destinations.

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