New dates are being developed by Indian military planners for the November 10–11 user trials of the Agni series nuclear-capable ballistic missile. This occurs when the Chinese espionage ship Yuan Wang-6 is being closely monitored by the Indian Navy as it travels through the Indian Ocean (IOR).
The 22,000-ton Yuan Wang-6 of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy), which was spotted in Bali late last week, is equipped to track satellite launches and long-range ballistic missile trajectories.
Yuan Wang-6 would not be permitted to enter India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which stretches 200 nautical miles out to sea, according to the Indian Navy. Shi Yan 1, a suspected Chinese espionage ship, was forced away by Indian Navy vessels in 2019 as it was allegedly conducting research close to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The probable Chinese vessels in the IOR, according to retired submariner Commodore Anil Jai Singh (Retd), are technically surveyor ships rather than warships. India, he says, cannot really do much unless the ships do something overtly hostile. “If the vessels stay in the high seas, that’s everybody’s territory. But we need to monitor their activity. Since these are not warships, technically they have the right to venture into EEZs too,” Commodore Singh said.
Only 20 days had passed since India tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from its first indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, before moving Yuan Wang-6. The projectile made a precise strike on the intended location in the Bay of Bengal.
The launch of the SLBM, which is a “essential component of India’s nuclear deterrence capabilities,” was “important to show crew competency and validate,” according to a statement from the ministry of defence (MoD). India is now only the sixth nation with the ability to launch nuclear strikes and countertrikes on land, sea, and air thanks to the launch. The US, Russia, UK, France, and China round up the list of nations.
The Phase-II ballistic missile defence (BMD) interceptor AD-1 missile underwent a successful test flight by India on November 2 from the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. Next up was the Agni series nuclear-capable ballistic missile trial on November 10–11.
India has grown increasingly concerned about the PLA Navy’s presence in the IOR. The P-8I maritime long-range surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft of the Indian Navy had previously discovered up to seven Chinese Navy warships in the Indian Ocean.
Despite fears from New Delhi, the Chinese surveillance ship Yuan Wang-5 had moored at the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka in August. A dual-purpose vessel named Yuan Wang-5 is equipped to track satellites, rockets, and intercontinental ballistic missiles. It boasts a 400-person staff and cutting-edge machinery.
Chinese military strategists in India claim that they have a long-term plan to operate in the IOR. In exchange for Dhaka receiving two submarines, it established a submarine base there. While eight submarines are being handed to Pakistan, China has also given a retired submarine to Myanmar.
China is constructing more research vessels for’spying’ activities disguising itself as research. The only missile launch monitoring vessel in India is the INS Dhruv. The movement of Chinese espionage ships in the IOR, according to Commodore Singh, is now anticipated to be a regular occurrence.