China’s most recent naval activity in the Indian Ocean has no doubt sparked the attention of the world; mostly India.
The Indian Navy even tweeted to China, leaving a chilling message stating they’re watching the Asian nation closely.
The Indian Air Force are rehearsing war manoeuvres, while their aircrafts are being equipped with anti-ship technology.
50 combat-ready warships are patrolling in the area.
However, China’s forces are no laughing matter.
Their assets include submarines, destroyers and various intelligence-gathering vessels that have all been deployed across the Indian Ocean.
China’s presence marks a shift in regional power.
Beijing has interests in the Maldives Islands region and the Chinese warships are there, attempting to keep India away.
Beijing’s confidence stems from growth, as they have already taken control of numerous areas around the South China Sea.
And while the Maldives aren’t exactly huge, China sending warships could be concerning. It shows China’s interest in influencing small nations.
Australia gets thrown into the mix
There were already heightening tensions between Australia and China before China’s move into the Indian Ocean.
Despite China displaying dominance over the South China Sea, the Australian navy is still traversing the region, described by Turnbull as its ‘perfect right’.
Two Australian frigates as well as an oil replenishment ship, were even challenged by the Chinese.
Ships from both counties often encounter each other, which only increases tensions.
It’s not exactly clear what happened during the encounter, China at the time were conducting a large naval exercise in the region.
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull stated:
‘We maintain and practice the right of freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the world and, in this context, we’re talking about naval vessels on the world’s oceans, including the South China Sea, as is our perfect right in accordance with international law.’
China have already set up various defences around the South China Sea, in order to strengthen their position.
The Australian Defence Association believes tensions could escalate further as ships continue to be in territorial waters when they’re not supposed to, which could lead to an act of violence from either side.
China’s ambition could grow in time, the question is, how far are they willing to go to ensure that growth?
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