South China Sea row: Why US has deployed warship USS Nimitz in Naval exercise with India

The USS Nimitz was part of war games along with USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China where tensions were at boiling point with the United States.

India-US naval excercise

Amid tensions in the South China Sea, US Navy's biggest warship USS Nimitz had earlier taken part in an exercise with the Indian Navy off the coast of Andaman & Nicobar island.

The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier came in from the South China Sea. 

The USS Nimitz was part of war games along with USS Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea where tensions were at boiling point between China and the United States.

(Photograph:AFP)

Hightened tensions between India and China

The India-US naval excercise comes amid increased Chinese presence in the Indian ocean with a military base in Djibouti in the horn of Africa which connects the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian ocean.

Also, the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley last month has hightened tensions between India and China with the US keen on supporting India, a fact clearly mentioned by US secretary of State Mike Pomepo.

(Photograph:AFP)

USS Nimitz

In January 2019, the launch of a DF-26 was shown to the general public in a China Central Television report for the first time, the Global Times said in its report.

India and United States had conducted a naval exercise near the Andaman and Nicobar islands last month with USS Nimitz joining the drills along with several Indian warships.

The exercise was quite similar to the one carried out with the Japanese navy last month. India will be conducting more drills in the Indian Ocean as it is expanding its alliance on the high seas.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations

Malabar 20 Phase1 would witness complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises.

Phase 2 of Malabar 20 is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea in mid-November 2020.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

'Support a free and open Indo-Pacific'

The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan had conducted dual carrier operations in the waterway to "support a free and open Indo-Pacific" last year  in order to "stand up for the right of all nations to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows," the US had said.

The Pentagon is especially "concerned" over Chinese military exercises in the South China Sea.

(Photograph:AFP)

India-US naval exercise

The India-US naval exercise was held amid increased Chinese presence in the Indian ocean with a military base in Djibouti in the horn of Africa which connects the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian ocean.

Also, the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June heightened tensions between India and China with the US keen on supporting India, a fact clearly mentioned by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

(Photograph:AFP)

China's Paracel Islands dispute with US

The Trump administration has rejected China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, including the Paracel Islands which has often been the cause of tension between the two countries.

China will be carrying out five days of exercises until July 5 in the area even as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. China said the  drills were "within the scope of China's territorial sovereignty."

The US also regularly conducts "freedom of navigation operations" in the South China Sea, with the US Navy sometimes sending warships to the Paracels. 
 

(Photograph:AFP)

'Like the British East India company'

In fact, China has has warned Britain against stationing a new aircraft carrier in the Pacific, arguing it would be a "very dangerous move".

A senior US official Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell had likened China's state enterprises to Britain's colonizing East India Company amid the South China Sea dispute.

"In all our societies, citizens deserve to know the differences between commercial enterprises and instruments of foreign state power," Stilwell said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"These state enterprises are modern-day equivalents of the East India Company," he said.

The British East India Company seized control of most of the Indian subcontinent in the guise of trading in tea, cotton, spices and other goods before Britain formally took charge in the mid-19th century.
 

(Photograph:AFP)

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