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CDS Downplays Presence of PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean

Published Jan 25, 2020
Updated Feb 29, 2020

While the Indian Navy has been concerned over presence of the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean, CDS General Rawat seemed to downplay the same.

Speaking to reporters on the occasion of induction of No 222 Squadron, the Tigersharks at Air Force Station Thanjavur he emphasised on freedom of the seas.

The squadron was inducted in a ceremony attended by General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO, Air Marshal Amit Tiwari AVSM VM, Air Officer Commanding – in – Chief (AOC-in-C), Southern Air Command (SAC), Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain AVSM VSM, Flag Officer Commanding – in – Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Mr R Madhavan, Chairman cum Managing Director, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and other Dignitaries on 20 Jan 2020.

General Bipin Rawat in his address said that the resurrection of the ‘Tigersharks’ highlighted the Integration and Jointness which is the future of the Indian Armed Forces.

He brought out that Su 30 MKI aircraft along with the BrahMos will be the game-changer which will extensively enhance the security of the Maritime domain.

The Squadron will be operating closely with the Indian Army and Navy to get the ball rolling in jointness of the Indian Armed Forces.

Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria He said that it was a historic day for the Indian Air Force, Southern Air Command, Air Force Station Thanjavur and 222 Squadron.

He spoke of the decision to choose Thanjavur as the base for induction of the SU 30 MKI squadron because of its strategic location and complimented Southern Air Command and all personnel of AFS Thanjavur for their efforts towards advancing the induction of the squadron by almost a year.

The induction ceremony culminated with a flying display by Light Combat Aircraft, Sarang Helicopter Display Team and Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team.

As per PTI reports quoted by multiple media sources Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat downplayed the presence of the PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), “Every nation looks at its security from a strategic perspective. Oceans are meant for freedom of navigation. And therefore wherever you find any country which has interest in a particular area, it will attempt to come to that area to dominate the area more so for the freedom of navigation,” he told reporters.

“Therefore, I don’t think we should look at it particularly from that perspective (of a threat from China).”

Thanjavur air base is roughly in line with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the air base with Su 30 MKI will be able to cover the southern Bay of Bengal areas extending from the Malacca Straits to the Andaman Seas.

Su 30 MKI has a flight range at this altitude of 1270 kms and is armed with a variety of ground attack systems including the BrahMos.

The heavy fighter also carries Kh-59ME,Kh-59MK,Kh-35, Kh-31P/A,Kh-29T/A,S-8,S-13Kh-509ME ,Kh-59MK,Kh-35, Kh-31 variety of missiles and bombs

While LCA Tejas is another option that could have been envisaged for deployment. However the limited range of 850 kms and the package of armament apart from bombs including Kh-509ME ,Kh-59MK,Kh-35, Kh-31 is restricted.