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Chinese oil and gas explorers are being watched by the Indian Military close to Bangladesh.

The Indian Navy is closely monitoring a Chinese survey vessel, Hai Yang Shi You 760, which is conducting an oil and gas exploration within Bangladesh’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Bay of Bengal. The Chinese-owned seismic survey vessel entered the Indian Ocean region through the Malacca Strait on the night of December 29 last year and is undertaking oil and gas exploration in Bangladesh’s EEZ since January. The exploration will complete in May 2023.

Sources told Wion that, “There have been no instances of the ship undertaking any type of research activity within the Indian EEZ & the Chinese vessel is being continuously monitored by the Indian Navy.”

Last August, a Chinese ship Yuan Wang 5 docked in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port irking New Delhi. Sri Lanka has since then been working on a standard operating procedure to make sure such incidents are not repeated.

As China’s presence in the Indian Ocean continues to increase, the Indian Navy has intensified monitoring activities. The 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.

As things stand right now, with increased Chinese presence in the Indian ocean, the Indian Navy is expected to significantly step up its maritime presence and surveillance. Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) based in Gurugram also keeps an eye on the movements in the Indian ocean and is involved in early mobilisation of resources in case of any crisis. IFC-IOR was inaugurated in 2018, with a focus on India and like-minded countries sharing real-time developments in the maritime domain.

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