New Delhi: India is sending a naval task force to the South China Sea this month to expand security ties with friendly countries.
The Indian military tradition has traditionally been wary of Chinese opposition, but India’s mood has soured since clashes between troops on the disputed land border last year. Since then, India and the United States have come closer to confronting China.
The navy said in a statement that four ships, including guided missile destroyers and missile warships, would be deployed in Southeast Asia, the South China Sea and the western Pacific Ocean for two months.
“The deployment of ships of the Indian Navy emphasizes solidarity with friendly countries to ensure operational access, peaceful presence and order in the maritime region,” the Navy said.
The South China Sea has witnessed bad relations between China and the United States. Washington has rejected Beijing’s regional claim to resource-rich waters.
In June, a U.S. aircraft carrier group led by USS Ronald Reagan entered the South China Sea as part of a regular mission, and a British carrier group is scheduled to conduct exercises in the Philippine Sea this month.
The Navy said that as part of their deployment, Indian ships would participate in the annual joint war games with the United States, Japan and Australia off the coast of Guam.
The four countries have formed a quad grouping, which the administration of US President Joe Biden is promoting as a way to deal with China.
The Indian Navy said in a statement, “These maritime initiatives enhance coordination and coordination between the Indian Navy and friendly countries on the basis of maritime interests and commitment to freedom of navigation.”
China has in the past criticized multilateral military tactics for destabilizing the region.