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India, China face-off in the Indian Ocean

February 04, 2009 12:21 IST
Last Updated: February 04, 2009 18:03 IST

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In the first military stand-off between the two Asian giants since 1986, an Indian submarine and two Chinese warships came close to a confrontation in the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, but the situation was resolved when the submarine left the site, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday. The Bab Al-Mandab Strait separates Yemen and Djibouti at the western end of the Gulf of Aden.

Though both the Indian and Chinese governments refused to comment on the matter, the report claimed that on January 15, the two warships, which had been deployed to fight Somali pirates, were followed by the submarine.

The warships forced the submarine to surface after several rounds of manoeuvring, the Hongkong-based newspaper said, adding that the submarine chose to end the stand-off and leave the spot.

The stand-off was triggered after the Chinese warships detected the presence of a submarine on their sonar, the report stated. The vessel reportedly fitted the description of submarines belonging to the Indian Navy.

When the submarine tried to jam the warships' sonar system, the Chinese navy sent an anti-submarine helicopter to track it, stated the report.

The newspaper claimed that the submarine had been following the warships since they entered the Indian Ocean. The escalating situation prompted the Chinese naval officials to keep its anti-submarine torpedoes ready.

The Indian submarine was reportedly trying to obtain crucial naval data from China's two most advanced warships, claimed the South China Morning Post.

An Indian Nevy spokesperson told that such an incident did happen but denied that an Indian submarine was involved.

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