New Delhi, Sep 21: Indian Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar said that China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence not only along the land borders, but also in India's maritime domain.
He made the remarks on Tuesday while addressing the 49th annual management convention of the All India Management Association.
"China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence, not only along our land borders but also in the maritime domain by leveraging anti-piracy operations to normalize its naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region," the Navy chief said, adding that Beijing had maintained a continuous presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) since 2008 "using anti-piracy operations".
"At any point we have anything between five to eight Chinese Navy units, be it warships or research vessels and a host of Chinese fishing vessels operating in the IOR. We keep a watch on them and see how they are undertaking their activities in the IOR."
Admiral Kumar further said that India's capability plans and development is not based on a nation, but upon the requirements to protect, preserve and promote our national interests.
"That is how we structure our force and while structuring the force and developing the capability, these get factored and enable us to keep the Indian Ocean under surveillance," he said.
The Navy chief also said that Pakistan has also continued its military modernisation despite economic constraints, adding that terrorism is still a major security threat along with the existing military challenges.
Meanwhile speaking at a separate event organised by Bharat Shakti, Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande said that there are still two friction points at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh that India and China need to move forward.
He said that the immediate task is to disengage from these friction points before the next step of de-escalation.