Yuan Wang 6 to monitor Indian missile or Chinese satellite launches? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Yuan Wang 6 to monitor Indian missile or Chinese satellite launches?

Nov 05, 2022 01:26 PM IST

Unlike its sister ship Yuan Wang 5, which docked at the Chinese leased port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka in August, the Shanghai based Yuan Wang 6 is not slated to enter into any Sri Lankan port but is presently out in open sea south of Lombok Straits.

Although the Indian Navy is monitoring the movement of Chinese satellite and ballistic missile tracking ship Yuan Wang 6 as part of its maritime domain awareness, the vessel is not scheduled to enter into any sea port in Sri Lanka. The ship entered the Indian Ocean region on November 4 via Lombok Straits, which is some 3500 kilometres away from Port Blair.

The Chinese satellite and ballistic missile tracking ship Yuan Wang 6 is at present south of Lombok Straits, which is over 3500 km away from Port Blair.
The Chinese satellite and ballistic missile tracking ship Yuan Wang 6 is at present south of Lombok Straits, which is over 3500 km away from Port Blair.

While media reports on the basis of twitter feed reported that the ship was out to monitor scheduled ballistic missile launches off the coast of A P J Kalam Island this month, the national security planners are not unduly worried as China has the capability to monitor Indian missile launches through satellite.

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According to South Block officials, the strategic support ship was actually in the Indian Ocean to monitor Chinese satellite launches planned on November 12 and at the end of the month. Unlike its sister ship Yuan Wang 5, which docked at the Chinese leased port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka in August, the Yuan Wang 6 is not slated to enter into any Sri Lankan port but is out in open sea south of Lombok Straits.

Fact is that the Chinese strategic vessels are increasingly surveying the Indian Ocean Region as they explore alternative routes to Malacca Straits by doing ocean bed mapping. The Chinese vessels can enter the Indian Ocean Region only through Malacca, Sunda, Lombok, Ombai or Vetar straits, all of which are partly or fully controlled by Indonesia.

Beijing is not only exploring sea routes in the Indian Ocean to reach the Chinese base in Djibouti on the east coast of Africa far removed from India but also through the Arctic Circle to reach European ports like Hamburg, where Chinese company COSCO has bought over 24 per cent of equity.

India, on its part, has made it known to its neighbours particularly Sri Lanka about the risks of allowing Chinese military vessels to dock at their port for refuelling or rest and recreation purposes. It has also asked these countries not to use their tankers to refuel Chinese warships on the high seas as it would have an impact on bilateral ties with India.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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