New Delhi, July 21: A Chinese warship anchored off Mumbai yesterday before entering the harbour to replenish itself and set sail for Oman in four days from now.
A Chinese submarine had similarly docked for a week in Karachi in May, raising concerns in New Delhi of a Pakistan-China military alliance.
Navy sources here admit that the heft of China as a superpower in waters around India is more visible now than possibly ever before. In the past three months, it has managed to get a submarine replenished in Pakistan and a destroyer in India and the crew has found R & R (rest and recuperation) in both countries.
Ships from the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet also make friendly port visits to China once a year.
The Luyang II-class guided missile destroyer Jinan that is now visiting Mumbai was on an anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden. In March, the Indian Navy flagged concern over the deployment of a Chinese nuclear submarine for anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden that transited through waters close to India. India had also flagged concern when a Chinese submarine docked at Hambantota in Sri Lanka last year.
The Jinan, the ship now in Mumbai, is one of Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy's most modern warships. It is part of China's 20th anti-piracy fleet escort mission.
The Indian Navy, that had raised concern over a Chinese submarine capable of "profiling the coastline", had also said that the deployment of nuclear submarines on anti-piracy patrols make little operational sense.
The navy had told the government that the submarine, probably a Shang-class Type T094 nuclear-powered boat, was capable of "profiling the coastline", The Telegraph reported on March 24.
The SSN (sub-surface nuclear) attack submarine was deployed from December 13, 2014 to February 14, 2015.