Outlining that the Chinese Navy added 80 warships in last five years, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Wednesday raised concerns over growing might of China in the sea-warfare, while terming it "a force which is here to stay".
Addressing an interactive session at Raisina Dialogue, Admiral Lanba said, "No doubt China is spending a huge sum of money to develop their military capability. In my opinion, no Navy has grown so rapidly in the last 200 years as the Chinese Navy. They have added 80 new ships in the last five years. Chinese Navy is a force and it is a force which is here to stay."
He also emphasised over the increased and continuous presence of Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean and added, "Since 2008 there has been a permanent presence of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean region in the form of an anti-piracy escort force. At any given time there are 6-8 Chinese Navy ships in the northern part of the Indian Ocean."
Talking further about the Chinese overseas facility at Djibouti, Lanba also questioned the role of submarines for anti-piracy operations.
"Two years ago, they commissioned their 1st overseas facility in Djibouti and stated that aim of this is to protect their trade flowing through this area. They have deployed submarines for anti-piracy operation which is the most unlikely platform to be used for this role," said the Indian Navy chief.
In December last year, Admiral Lanba had informed that necessary steps are being taken to increase security in the Indian Ocean region.
He had said that the process of information sharing among the countries concerned has been accorded renewed impetus at the highest level to enhance collective maritime security in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).