China has deployed a significant naval presence in the Indian Ocean, with latest satellite images revealing the presence of frontline Chinese warships, a submarine, and fleet support ships docked at Pakistan's Karachi harbor, NDTV has reported.
This development coincides with the commencement of the Sea Guardian-3 naval exercises in the Arabian Sea, marking Beijing and Islamabad's largest-ever joint naval maneuvers.
The Sea Guardian-3 exercises take place amid China's notable expansion of maritime activities in the Indian Ocean, including the establishment of a major base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Additionally, China has bolstered regional naval capabilities through the sale of advanced platforms, such as the recent provision of four Type-054 A/P frigates to the Pakistan Navy.
China is also building eight conventional submarines equipped with Independent Air Propulsion for the Pakistan Navy.
Over the past year, Chinese surveillance and oceanographic survey ships have been identified in the Indian Ocean, signaling Beijing's increasing maritime interests.
The presence of Chinese naval assets in Karachi, including a Type 039 submarine, underscores China's ability to project naval power in distant waters. This marks the eighth occasion since 2013 that the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has deployed a submarine in the Indian Ocean.
China's maritime activities in the Indian Ocean extend to the Bay of Bengal, where surveillance and oceanographic survey ships, such as the Shi Yan 6, have been observed. Speculation suggests that China is actively mapping the waters of the Indian Ocean, including the Bay of Bengal, to facilitate extensive submarine operations across the region.
The presence of a Type-039 submarine and its accompanying support ship in Karachi has been closely monitored by Indian Navy P8 reconnaissance aircraft. These assets were tracked from their entry into the region through the Malacca straits, emphasizing the strategic importance of monitoring and responding to China's naval activities in the Indian Ocean.
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