Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Friday expressed concern over the presence of Chinese navy ships at Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan. The Navy chief also found it odd that the Chinese Navy has been deploying submarines on anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean.

“In future, if PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Navy ships are at Gwadar, it will be a matter of concern, we will have to think of ways to mitigate,” he told the media at his annual press meet ahead of Navy Day on 4 December.

Admiral Lanba, who is also the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, said Chinese commercial companies have acquired a majority stake in Gwadar. It is a commercial harbour and part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Admiral Lanba said eight Chinese navy ships are present in the Indian Ocean region at any given point of time. The deployment of ships by China started in 2008.

Of the eight ships, three are part of anti-piracy patrols and come twice a year.  “In the month of August, there was unique situation as there were 14 ships in the area,” he said. “We monitor their deployment,’ he said. Surveillance aircraft are flown once every 24 or 48 hours for this.

Deploying submarines on anti-piracy patrols was odd, he said, explaining that they are not an ideal platform for such operations. He said India has carried out a threat assessment. “We have adopted several new measures to effectively fulfil our commitment to the nation. These are aimed at making our processes and structures more efficient and outcome-oriented,” he said.