Amid heightened Chinese naval and research vessel activities in the Indian Ocean, a senior Indian Naval officer has emphasized the Indian Navy’s ability to detect any foreign warships or vessels attempting to pass through the region unnoticed.
The officer stated, “There is no way any country’s warships or vessels can pass through the Indian Ocean without getting detected by the Indian Navy’s P-8I anti-submarine and surveillance planes.” Captain Ajayendra Kant Singh, who oversees the operations of the P-8I aircraft at Nacala Air Station INS Rajali (Arakkonam Naval Air Station), stressed the effectiveness of their surveillance capabilities. He explained that there is always at least one P-8I aircraft in the air, conducting surveillance over the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, ensuring constant vigilance over the region’s activities.
The P-8I aircraft, considered a game-changer for the Indian Navy, has played a pivotal role in conducting surveillance in various areas of Indian interest. It has monitored high-altitude regions in the Ladakh sector, provided insights into Chinese activities along the Sikkim-Bhutan sector during the Doklam crisis, and conducted regular surveillance of foreign warships and research vessels across the Indian Ocean Region. Over the past decade, the P-8I has accumulated over 44,000 hours of flight time in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indian Navy currently operates 12 of these aircraft, with plans to acquire an additional 6 from the United States in the near future.
The Indian Navy’s focus on surveillance in the Indian Ocean Region is particularly crucial due to China’s increased naval presence and its reliance on this region for oil supplies and global trade routes. Commander Jishnu Madhavan, another senior officer from the squadron, highlighted the P-8I’s role as the “eyes and ears” of the Indian Navy, providing a significant advantage in the strategically important Indian Ocean region.
In response to evolving security challenges, the Indian Navy recently deployed a squadron of P-8Is in the western sector near Goa, with the specific responsibility of monitoring and responding quickly to developments in that area.