Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean, ostensibly to guard against pirates, have been increasingly aggressive in recent times. On January 27, three ships of the Chinese Navy– the Changsha, a modern guided-missile destroyer, the Yulin, a multi-role frigate, and the Hong Hu, a replenishment ship, were 438 nautical miles northwest of Kavaratti, in the Lakshadweep islands. 

While China has been sending warships to the Indian Ocean on anti-piracy missions, the newly commissioned Changsha is a 7,200-tonne guided-missile destroyer, and the Yulin, also, a powerful warship.

The obvious question: would you really need a modern guided-missile destroyer to tackle pirates in their flimsy vessels? 

That apart, Chinese research vessels and survey ships are regularly visiting the Indian Ocean Region. 

  • The Shi Yan-3 has been spotted off Bengkulu, in Indonesia. So has the Xiang Yang Hong-1. Survey ships gather information relating to salinity, temperature, and depths. This can be of help to Chinese submarines in the future. 
  • Unlike Shi Yan-3 and Xiang Yang Hong-1, the Yuan Long-7 is a Chinese Navy ship and was seen near Denpasar, also Indonesia. It is called a space event support ship and is involved in tracking satellites and long-range missiles.