Anti-Submarine Ops in Indian Ocean

There is a shared realization that strategic stability in maritime Asia can no longer be taken for granted.

Anti-Submarine Operations in the Indian Ocean

By Abhijit Singh

As India and Australia prepare to embark on their first-ever bilateral naval interaction in the Bay of Bengal this month, reports suggest the exercises will focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). This is being seen as evidence of a growing regional consensus on the threat posed by Chinese undersea operations in the Asian littorals. Australia is reported to be sending a Lockheed Martin’s P-3 anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft, a Collins-class submarine, and ASW frigates, while India will be deploying a P-8 long-range anti-submarine aircraft, along with other surface assets.

Over the past two years, China’s submarine deployments in the Indian Ocean have been a source of worry for Indian analysts. Since May this year, when a Chinese Yuan-class submarine visited Karachi, there has been growing unease in New Delhi over the possibility of greater Chinese submarine presence in India’s maritime neighborhood. Indian analysts say the sudden rise in submarine visits suggests a larger game-plan for the expansion of the PLA-N’s operational footprint in the Indian Ocean. In the garb of anti-piracy operations, Chinese submarines have been performing specific stand-alone missions – a process, China skeptics  contend, meant to lay the groundwork for a rotating but permanent deployment in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

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