Indian Navy Submarine Makes Port Call In Sri Lanka Amid Growing Chinese Presence

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Jun 23, 2023, 01:41 PM | Updated 02:23 PM IST

INS Vagir, the fifth of the six submarine of Kalvari class in a port.
INS Vagir, the fifth of the six submarine of Kalvari class in a port.

Indian Navy's fifth Kalvari class submarine — INS Vagir — has made its first port call at Colombo port in Sri Lanka on Wednesday (21 June).

This comes at a time when a Pakistani Navy frigate, PNS Tipu Sultan, has also arrived at Colombo port on Sunday (18 June) for a two-day port call, while the Chinese are increasingly enhancing their influence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

This is the first foreign port call of INS Vagir. The submarine is in Sri Lanka to participate in the celebrations of the ninth anniversary of International Yoga Day (IDY 2023), where the submarine was kept open for visitors, including school children.

"Apart from professional & social interactions with the Sri Lanka Navy, the crew participated in IDY 2023. The submarine was kept open for visitors including school children," the Indian Navy tweeted.

INS Vagir also hosted Senior Sri Lankan dignitaries including the State Minister of Defence, Secretary Defence and Commander of Sri Lankan Navy.

This is the first time a submarine has docked in Sri Lanka since the Chinese nuclear submarine was allowed to dock at Colombo port in 2014, which has raised serious concerns about Chinese intentions in the Indian government circles.

Even the PNS Tipu Sultan, which was docked at Colombo port when INS Vagir arrived, is a Chinese-supplied Type-054AP frigate for the Pakistan Navy.

Moreover, these actions by China are part of their broader strategy to expand their influence in the region.

The Chinese are not only providing Pakistan with fighter jets and frigates but also eight Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines, while they already own a port in Pakistan's Gwadar.

Additionally, the Chinese have a military base in Djibouti, Africa, and are constructing another one in Cambodia.

Just last year in August 2022, a Chinese spy ship, Yuan Wang 5, docked at Hambantota port, which caused wide consternations in India.

This aligns with the wider strategy of the Chinese to encircle India in its own neighborhood using various methods, including creating military ports, trapping neighboring countries in debt through dubious infrastructure projects, and exerting negative influence on debt-ridden governments to control their policies regarding India.

The visit of INS Vagir is a response to this Chinese expansion strategy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

India is already helping the Sri Lankan government overcome the economic crisis they announced in April 2022 by providing loans worth more than $4 billion. India has also assisted Sri Lanka in obtaining a $3 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout package.

Furthermore, India has developed its naval base in Mauritius on the Agaléga Islands, as well.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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