In a strategic move to counter China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India is actively working to expand its influence by providing maritime and air support to neighboring countries in the region, according to a report.
Expanding Influence in Oman: In Oman, the Indian Navy has established a support base at the Duqm port. This facility is equipped for maintenance, repair, and overhaul of Indian ships, offering berthing, fuel, and rest facilities not only for Indian vessels but also for those from the vicinity and beyond. The support base is already operational, as reported by the Hindustan Times.
Airstrip in Mauritius: In Mauritius, India has constructed an airstrip on the north Agalega islands, approximately 1,050 kilometers north of Port Louis. This airstrip serves the dual purpose of enhancing maritime security for the island nation and safeguarding its tourism assets in the region. To man the airstrip, the Indian Navy is deploying at least 50 officers and guards, and the facility will have the capability to handle Boeing P-8I surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the Indian Armed Forces.
Concerns Over China’s Presence: India’s efforts to expand its influence in the IOR come in response to growing concerns over China’s increasing presence in the region. A recent incident involving the Chinese surveillance vessel Shi Yan 6 entering the IOR on September 23 has raised alarms in India. The vessel is expected to dock at Colombo on September 29, and New Delhi is wary of the evolving maritime threat posed by China’s presence in the Indian neighborhood.
Indian Naval Strengthening: India is taking proactive measures to address these concerns, including bolstering its naval fleet in the Indian Ocean. The country aims to have at least 175 warships by 2035 to monitor the IOR and safeguard its strategic interests.
India’s strategic initiatives in the Indian Ocean Region reflect its commitment to ensuring stability and security in the region amid evolving geopolitical dynamics.