Bangladesh, India, Pak join Chinese naval exercise

Bangladesh, India, Pak join Chinese naval exercise

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Ships from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India have reached the Chinese port of Qingdao to take part in rare naval exercise this week.
A Bangladesh navy frigate BNS Abu Bakar left Chittagong earlier this month to join the exercise, sources in Bangladesh Navy said.
They say Abu Bakar is a type 053H2 frigate of Chinese make. It was previously known as Huangshi, when it served the Chinese navy from 1986 after it was commissioned.In 2013 the ship was sold to Bangladesh Navy, where it was commissioned on 1 March 2014 as BNS Abu Bakar.
India has sent for this exercise INA Shivalik, an indigenously built stealth frigate, which is visiting China a second time.
It had visited Shanghai last year along with three other Indian naval vessels as part of a goodwill tour in view of the two Asian giants trying to develop maritime cooperation.
An Indian naval ship also took part in the PLA Navy’s 60th celebrations in 2009.
So Shivalik’s presence in the Chinese exercise on the 65th anniversary of Chinese navy is significant.
Vessels from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia and few other countries besides China are joining these exercises.
A Pakistani naval destroyer was the first to arrive at Qingdao port.
The naval exercises involve search and rescue besides joint communication and coordination.
China taking the lead for such a multi-national exercise has ‘huge diplomatic connotations”, analysts say.
Former Indian navy deputy chief Bimalendu Guha told bdnews24.com that fostering this kind of maritime cooperation with countries all around China was Beijing’s way of countering “rival influence” in the region.
He was alluding to US efforts to get multi-national naval exercises going with Asian nations and Australia.
The PLA Navy has cancelled this exercise that was to involve a fleet review by President Xi Jinping , in view of the ongoing search for the Malaysian airliner gone missing with 239 passengers onboard.
Of them, 153 passengers were Chinese nationals.
The US has not sent any of its ships to take part in the exercise despite invitation because this clearly was a Beijing-driven show.
Japan has not been invited.
A Chinese naval spokesman said the Japanese navy was not invited to due to “erroneous” policies of Japan’s leadership over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The US and Japan however would take part in the 21-member Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) being held on the sidelines of this exercise.
India, along with Bangladesh and Mexico are the observers in that event.
WPNS member countries include Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Indonesia, Japan, Cambodia, Tonga, Malaysia, New Zealand, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, China, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Russia, Vietnam, Thailand and the US.
The event will last till April 24. – bdnews24.com

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