‘No standoff between Indian sub, Chinese warship’

February 9th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Feb 9 (IANS) Reports of a standoff between Chinese warships and an Indian submarine in the Gulf of Aden were false, Chinese media reports said Monday.

The online edition of the South China Morning Post said that reports of Chinese warships, patrolling the region against Somalia-based pirates, being stalked by a Indian submarine pertained to a military drill last year and had no factual basis.

The report, which first appeared in the Chinese daily Qingdao Zaobao Tuesday, said the Indian submarine “stalked” the Chinese warships and they were “locked in a tense standoff for at least half an hour” after which the Indian submarine was forced to surface.

The submarine and the two warships were involved in several rounds of manoeuvring during which both sides evidently tried to test each other’s sonar systems for weaknesses, the Qingdao Zaobao report said.

An Indian Navy spokesperson had told IANS in New Delhi that “no Indian submarine surfaced in the area” where the incident is said to have occurred.

The Chinese report had been picked up by numerous mainland Chinese websites a day later. But the name of the source newspaper was changed to Qingdao Chenbao when it appeared on mainland websites.

A Qingdao Zaobao editor refused to clarify the matter and told the South China Morning Post that he did not want to talk about the incident.

Chinese warships, as also those from India and other nations, have been patrolling in the waters off the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest sea routes, to prevent pirate attacks.

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