The Indian Navy has sent its newest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to Maldives in what is seen by many as a move by India to thwart the Chinese from making any strategic in-roads into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
INS Vikramaditya will be anchoring at Male, capital of Maldives from Feb. 15 to Feb 18. This visit is "part of the overall policy to shape a favourable maritime environment in IOR with both presence and engagement," the Times of India reported, citing an officer.
The officer said the move was a "goodwill visit" to the country.
INS Vikramaditya has been accompanied by destroyer INS Mysore and tanker INS Deepak. This is the second foreign port call for the largest aircraft carrier in Indian Navy inventory after it visited Colombo in January this year.
India has been looking to counter the Chinese aggression in the IOR as the country views the ocean region as its own backyard.
An emboldened Chinese Navy had previously anchored its warships and submarines in the Pakistani port of Gwadar and the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota and Colombo, causing ripples in the North Block.
After years of reluctance, India now appears to be part of the power play with China. India seems to be devising its own policy to counter the Chinese in the region.
Maldives is a strategically important country for India in the IOR. India reiterated its commitment to train the archipelago's military and help it in maritime surveillance. India is also likely to help Maldives in setting up 10 coastal surveillance radar system (CSRS) stations, the report said.