Chinese militia boats cross the Indian, ASEAN

Arief Budi
Arief Budi

Global Courant 2023-05-08 18:05:00

NEW DELHI/HANOI – Boats belonging to a Chinese maritime militia were approaching an area where Indian and ASEAN navies were participating in exercises in the South China Sea, two Indian sources said Monday.

An independent Vietnam expert said Beijing appeared to be using the militia to intimidate and disrupt the naval exercise.

Beijing has not responded to questions from Reuters about the alleged incident and possible motives. The Indian and Vietnamese governments declined to comment.

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The two-day naval phase of the Asean-India Maritime Exercise (AIME 2023) began Sunday with the participation of naval vessels and aircraft from India, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.

They were in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone when the Chinese boats came to them, Indian sources said.

However, the militia boats and navy ships crossed each other without any confrontation, they said.

Indian authorities, according to the sources, were monitoring the movements of at least five militia boats, who declined to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

A Chinese research vessel also tracked these boats to the same area, they said.

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Mr. Ray Powell, who directs Project Myoushu on the South China Sea at Stanford University, said the boats belong to the Qiong Sansha Yu militia flotilla in the area.

Such militias consist of commercial fishing boats, which cooperate with Chinese authorities for political causes in the South China Sea. However, the Chinese government has rejected the existence of such militias in the past.

Ms Van Pham, manager of The South China Sea Chronicle Initiative (SCSCI), an independent non-profit organization that monitors ship tracking data, said this was not the first time Chinese “so-called fishing vessels” had been in the area and warships from other ships intimidated. to land.

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“So it’s likely that the exercise was interrupted… the pattern was broken and some had to change direction,” she told Reuters.

The Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 10 had come as close as 10 miles – 16 kilometers – to the participating Vietnamese warship at one point, Ms Pham said.

The exercise is the first ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME-2023) and is jointly organized by the Indian and Singapore navies.

Chinese militia boats cross the Indian, ASEAN

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