The nefarious duo of China and Pakistan that was chirping incessantly after India backed out of Kavkaz-2020 has been given a sordid reality check as Moscow has agreed to India’s request of conducting a naval exercise between the two countries near the Strait of Malacca—China’s Achilles heel.
According to a report in Times now news, India will be hosting a bilateral naval exercise with the Russian Navy, in which at least three of its warships are expected to participate. The exercise will take place on 4-5 September at the Andaman Islands, during the days when the Indian Defense Minister will visit Moscow for the SCO meeting.
What makes this exercise interesting is that it will be conducted roughly in the same area where the Malabar exercise involving the Quad–India, the United States of America, Japan and possibly, Australia, will take place in November.
The naval exercise has been strategically planned by New Delhi with meticulous precision to put forth its point to China and the world whilst simultaneously reaffirming the belief in Moscow’s friendship which at some level must have felt hard-done-by India’s backing out from Kavkaz at the last minute.
China will be infuriated with the developments as the Strait of Malacca is the chokehold point where India has been steadily applying pressure. 80 per cent of China’s oil supplies pass through the South China Sea via the Strait of Malacca, and growing Indian presence in its very close proximity can easily hamper China’s hydrocarbons supply from the Middle East bringing the Middle Kingdom to its knees.
China’s agitation in the region is palpable because India has actively started militarizing the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal which is in extreme proximity to the strait.The Union government has provided Rs 5,650 crores to develop military infrastructure in the region. As a result, the naval air stations INS Kohassa in Shibpur and INS Baaz in Campbell Bay are reportedly having their runways extended.
PM Narendra Modi took the plans of militarizing a notch above when he announced that India is considering to investing Rs. 10,000 crore for building a trans-shipment port in the Great Nicobar Islands.
Militarising Andaman and the Nicobar Islands has sent a firm message to China that if it tries to move through the Northwest of the Strait of Malacca then New Delhi will be tracking its every single step.
India along with Japan, Australia and the USA is already tightening the noose around Dragon’s hegemony in the area.
India has signed a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement under which both countries can use each other military bases for much efficient patrolling of the Indo-Pacific region. The recent naval exercise by the Quad in the region had further sent shudders across the politburo of Beijing.
US spy planes have been snooping over PLA-Navy in the area and Trump administration has sanctioned 24 Chinese companies for helping China to build “military islands in the South China Sea.
The Indo-pacific region has been abuzz with new developments and now Russia and India conducting a naval exercise is surely going to rub salts deep in China’s wounds.