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Chinese Vessels Attempt to Snoop on Asean-India Naval Drill in South China Sea

Chinese vessels and aircraft attempted to spy on the first-ever Asean-India naval exercise in the South China Sea, highlighting China's aggressive behavior in the region.

Chinese vessels and aircraft recently attempted to spy on the first-ever Asean-India naval exercise, which took place in the South China Sea. While the drills were conducted on May 7-8, a number of Chinese military ships were spotted in the area during the “sea phase” of the inaugural Asean-India Maritime Exercises (AIME). Warships from India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and Vietnam participated in the exercise.

There are territorial disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea. A research vessel and Chinese vessels approached the exercise area in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone during AIME, but supported the drills. However, their actions were noticed by the participating countries.

The Chinese vessels were not close enough to impact AIME drills or maneuvers, a source in the Indian defense establishment said. A careful watch was kept on the Chinese vessels, however.

This latest incident highlights China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and its increasing belligerence towards its neighbors. India, in particular, has been keeping a close eye on China and steadily increasing its defense ties with Asian countries through combat exercises, exchanges, and training programs.

The Indian military is also supplying three batteries of Mach 2.8 BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which have a range of 290 km, to the Philippines under a $375 million contract inked in January last year. This marks the first such BrahMos export order and is expected to pave the way for similar deals with other Asean countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.
As China continues asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, tensions will likely rise in the region. However, countries like India and members of the Asean region are committed to maintaining peace and stability through dialogue, cooperation, and multilateral engagement.

While China attempted to snoop on the Asean-India naval drill in the South China Sea, the exercise went ahead as planned, and participating countries kept a close watch on Chinese vessels. India, in particular, has been increasing its defense ties with Asean countries and supplying weapons like the BrahMos missile to bolster their capabilities. As tensions in the region continue to simmer, countries are committed to maintaining stability through multilateral engagement

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