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  • To monitor the Indian Ocean region, India stretches its sea legs to Oman and Mauritius.

Port Duqm and Agalega Islands now have greater marine domain awareness and coastline protection for Port Louis thanks to India and its friends Oman and Mauritius.
Both actions are intended to increase maritime domain awareness and coastal security of friendly countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), particularly in light of Beijing’s expanding presence in the area. India has expanded its sea capabilities by establishing a maritime support base in Duqm port in Oman and is preparing to support close ally Mauritius by establishing an air support facility in north Agalega Islands, south of Seychelles.

The facility in Duqm port in Oman has already been operationalized to maintain, repair, and overhaul Indian ships as well as provide berthing, fuel, and rest facilities to Indian Navy ships in the area and traveling beyond, according to HT, despite the government being tight-lipped about these two most significant developments.

In order to give marine security to the island nation and assist defend its tourism assets in the area, India has developed an airstrip in the north Agalega islands, around 1,050 km north of Port Louis, in support of Mauritius, a critical ally. While it is understood that Prime Minister Pravind Jugnath will officially open the facility owned by the Mauritius government to the public in December, the Indian Navy is already making preparations to send at least 50 officers and personnel to man the airstrip, which will be able to accommodate Boeing P-8I surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft of the Indian Armed Forces. Jugnath was a special invitee to the G20 Summit in Delhi on September 8 and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi there.

On the eve of the G-20 conference in New Delhi on September 8, Prime Minister of the Sponsored Mauritius, Pravind Jugnath, and PM Modi were seen together in Toronto.
Pravind Jugnath, the prime minister of Mauritius, and PM Modi on September 8 in New Delhi, the day before the G-20 summit.
The decision to establish support facilities in the two nations was made in part as a result of the PLA Navy’s increased excursions into the Indian Ocean region. By 2025–2026, according to national security planners, Chinese carrier strike forces will be patrolling the IOR, as the PLA quickly increases the size of its already impressive surface and subsurface naval assets.

Data from South Block show that there are more Chinese ships entering the Indian Ocean each year, with as many as 24 Chinese ships doing so as of 2023. These include ships from the PLA Navy, ships used for scientific research and surveillance, and ships used for tracking satellites and ballistic missiles. In 2019, there were 29 of these ships, and by 2022, there were 43 of them.

According to information from South Block, there have been roughly six PLA Navy assets in IOR each month this year. 48 surveillance and scientific research vessels have been deployed in the Indian Ocean since 2019 with the general deployment area being the Bay of Bengal, the southern Indian Ocean, the northern Agalega Islands, and the Persian Gulf. Task Force 172 and the Anti-Piracy Escort Force (APEF) have also been spotted operating off the eastern coast of Africa with a Chinese naval base in Djibouti. A 45th APEF is currently anticipated to enter IOR this week at any time.

To conduct joint military scientific research in Sri Lanka’s EEZ in October–November 2023, the Chinese surveillance ship Shi Yan 6 will also enter IOR on September 23. Since 2019, no fewer than 33 Yuan Wang class ballistic missile and space tracking ships have been stationed in the IOR, where they are being kept an eye on off the coasts of Australia and East Africa.

According to experts and analysts, India not only needs to be aware of PLA activities in its backyard but also needs to provide coastal and maritime security to its important allies in the Persian Gulf and south Indian Ocean because an increasing number of Chinese ships and warships are entering the Indian Ocean through the straits of Malacca, Sunda, Lombok, and Ombi-Wetar in Indonesia.

Source- Hindustan times
Link- https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-extends-its-sea-legs-to-oman-and-mauritius-to-monitor-indian-ocean-region-101695340351241.html


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