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SOURCE: AFI

The Indian Navy has deployed warships to monitor the Chinese ocean research vessel XIANG YANG HONG 03 as it enters the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and heads towards the Maldivian capital, Male. This development comes amidst growing concerns about China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its deepening ties with the Maldives, a traditionally India-friendly nation.

Adding to the complexity of the situation is the recent visit of Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu to China, where he signed new agreements and strengthened ties with Beijing. This comes after Sri Lanka, under pressure from India, restricted docking privileges for Chinese vessels at its ports. The Maldives’ growing closeness to China coincides with a perceived deterioration in its relations with India during Muizzu’s presidency.

The XIANG YANG HONG 03 has a history of operating in strategically important locations like the IOR, Bay of Bengal, and Arabian Sea. Its presence in the vicinity of Male, particularly in light of the Maldives’ recent diplomatic maneuvers, has raised concerns about potential Chinese intentions in the region.

While the exact purpose of the XIANG YANG HONG 03’s voyage remains unclear, the Indian Navy’s close monitoring of its movements reflects the ???? nature of the situation. The IOR is a critical maritime trade route, and any attempt by China to expand its influence in the region could be perceived as a threat to India’s strategic interests.

The coming days will be crucial in determining the trajectory of this situation. The Indian Navy’s continued vigilance and diplomatic efforts by both India and the Maldives will be key in ensuring stability and security in the IOR.