The Indian Navy is keeping a close eye on a Chinese survey vessel, Hai Yang Shi You 760, which is conducting oil and gas exploration within Bangladesh’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Bay of Bengal. The seismic survey vessel, owned by China, entered the Indian Ocean region through the Malacca Strait on December 29th, 2021, and has been exploring oil and gas in Bangladesh’s EEZ since January. The vessel is expected to complete its exploration in May 2023.
According to sources, there have been no reports of the Chinese vessel conducting research activities within the Indian EEZ, and the Indian Navy is continuously monitoring the vessel. Last August, China’s Yuan Wang 5 docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, which angered India. Since then, Sri Lanka has been working on a standard operating procedure to prevent such incidents from happening again.
As China’s presence in the Indian Ocean increases, the Indian Navy has stepped up its monitoring activities. Chinese vessels have been found engaging in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the region, and China’s only overseas navy base is in Djibouti. With the increased Chinese presence, the Indian Navy is expected to significantly increase its maritime presence and surveillance in the region.
The Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), based in Gurugram, is also monitoring the movements in the Indian ocean and involved in early mobilization of resources in case of any crisis. The IFC-IOR was inaugurated in 2018 and focuses on India and like-minded countries sharing real-time developments in the maritime domain.