Indian Navy trolls China Navy on Twitter over presence in Indian Ocean | india news | Hindustan Times
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Indian Navy trolls China Navy on Twitter over presence in Indian Ocean

The Indian Navy welcomed the PLA Navy to the Indian Ocean with a tweet and followed up with another that showed a map of Indian warships in the region

india Updated: Apr 18, 2018 06:59 IST
Rahul Singh
Indian Navy tweeted a picture welcoming the 29th Anti-Piracy Escort Force (APEF) of PLA(N) in Indian Ocean Region.
Indian Navy tweeted a picture welcoming the 29th Anti-Piracy Escort Force (APEF) of PLA(N) in Indian Ocean Region.(Photo credit: @indiannavy/Twitter)

In two clever tweets, the Indian Navy on Tuesday sent a subtle but powerful message to the Chinese navy: You are being watched in the Indian Ocean region or IOR.

At a time the Indian Air Force is rehearsing war-time manoeuvres over the IOR under Exercise Gaganshakti 2018 with its Sukhoi-30 and Jaguar aircraft armed with anti-ship weaponry, the navy put out a tweet, along with photos of Chinese warships, welcoming the People’s Liberation Army Navy to the IOR.

The Indian Navy, on its official Twitter handle tweeted, “#MaritimeDomainAwareness @indiannavy extends a warm welcome to the 29th Anti-Piracy Escort Force (APEF) of PLA(N) in Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Happy Hunting.”

The task force left the Chinese port of Zhoushan on April 4 for the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy missions off the Somali coast. It consists of “700 officers and soldiers, dozens of special operation soldiers, and two helicopters on board,” according to a report on the PLA’s official website.

It is no secret that the deployment of Chinese naval units in the IOR is closely monitored by the navy, but it is perhaps the first time that the latter has taken to Twitter to drive home the message.

In a second tweet half an hour later, the navy put out a map of the IOR reinforcing how a fleet of 50 combat-ready Indian warships was carrying out round-the-clock surveillance of the area.

“#MissionBasedDeployments From Persian Gulf to Malacca Straits & from Northern Bay of Bengal to Southern Indian Ocean to East coast of Africa @indiannavy with 50 ships on vigil 24X7 keep our Area of Responsibility (AOR) safe… Anytime, Anywhere Everytime,” the navy tweeted.

It was in October 2017 that navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba gave his stamp of approval to the mission-based deployment pattern to position combat-ready warships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points in the IOR.

Lanba ordered the scaling up of the navy’s maritime footprint amid growing sightings of Chinese naval assets, including submarines, destroyers and intelligence-gathering vessels, in the IOR.

“The tweets were meant to send the message that every Chinese move in the IOR is being duly noted,” said a senior navy officer.

Navy officials said anti-piracy patrols and freedom of navigation were the reasons cited by China for its rising presence in the IOR, an area of strategic significance for India and the playground for the latest leg of ongoing Gaganshakti-2018 mock war.

“Extensive missions would be flown by the Su-30 and Jaguar in conjunction with the navy’s P-8I (submarine hunter planes) using long-range weapons to refine and practice offensive and defensive tactics against maritime targets,” an IAF spokesperson said.