Between Sept. 7-14, a Type 039 Song-class diesel-electric submarine anchored at Colombo in Sri Lanka to take on supplies. It is the first time a Chinese submarine has been sent publicly to a port near the Indian Ocean. The visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping to Sri Lanka after the submarine appeared also indicated that Beijing is strengthening its partnership with Sri Lanka. After its stay at Colmbo, the submarine moved on to the Gulf of Aden, according to the PLA Navy.
The Changchun, a Type 052C guided-missile destroyer, and the Changzhou, a Type 054A guided-missile frigate, also launched joint naval exercises with the Iranian and Pakistan navies during their visit to Bandar Abbas and Karachi. Those drills indicated that China is trying to expand its influence into the region through transforming the PLA Navy into a genuine blue-water navy.
The paper said that China is discussing maritime cooperation with the Seychelles, Mauritius, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia. Admiral Robin K Dhowan, India's chief of naval staff, said China is apparently seeking allies to encircle India. Dhowan said that the Indian navy will pay close attention to Chinese expansion in the region. If China begins to increase its naval activities in the Indian Ocean, it is likely to become a serious challenge to India, Dhowan said.
PLA Navy Type 039 Song-class diesel-electric attack submarine.