India concerned at China’s growing n-submarine fleet

May 5th, 2008 - 7:54 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) While brushing off any security implications due to the deployment of Chinese nuclear submarines at a spot near India, Chief of Navy Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta Monday said it was the increasing number of Chinese nuclear submarines that was more a matter of concern. “We will be concerned by the increasing number of submarines built by them and not where they are based,” Mehta said at the sidelines of a function here.

“Nuclear submarines can operate over large distances. It does not matter where it comes from,” Mehta added.

Satellite images of the Chinese Navy’s upcoming base at Hainan Island, 1,200 nautical miles from the strategic Malacca Strait and an access route to the Indian Ocean, has set off alarm bells across the Indian establishment.

The Chinese naval base is complete with facilities that can hide underground movement of submarines from spy satellites.

Details about the Hainan naval base have been widely reported but satellite images obtained in February by nuclear weapons watchdog Federation of American Scientists (FAS) showed for the first time a sea entrance to an underground facility and a Jin class submarine moored at the base.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said: “I assure that whether in sea lanes or in sea bodies our armed forces are taking all precautions to safeguard our security interests.”

Meanwhile, talking about the declining number of warships in the Indian Navy, Mehta said: “Twenty-three ships are being built and when they are assimilated it will be back to normal.”

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