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India Issues No-Fly Zone Notice Amidst Missile Test Speculation

India has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) declaring a substantial no-fly zone from April 3rd to 4th, hinting at a potential missile test.

Reports from Indian media suggest that the anticipated missile test is slated for the period between April 3rd and 4th.

Open-source maritime tracking data has unveiled the presence of not one, but at least four Chinese research vessels navigating the Indian Ocean.

The identified Chinese vessels include:

  1. Xiang Yang Hong 01 – Chinese Oceanographic Survey and Research Ship
  2. Xiang Yang Hong 03 – Chinese Oceanographic Survey and Research Ship
  3. Yuan Wang 03 – Chinese Satellite & Missile Tracking Ship
  4. Da Yang Hao – Chinese Marine Resource Survey Ship

In a recent development, Indian media reported the positioning of the research ship ‘RV Samudra Ratnakar’ near the Chinese research vessels. These ships are stationed off India’s eastern coast.

In a significant show of strength, India has deployed 11 submarines simultaneously, signaling resolve amidst escalating tensions with China. This deployment, the first of its kind by India’s conventional submarine fleet in three decades, is in response to reports of China dispatching four spy ships to the Indian Ocean to purportedly monitor India’s missile tests.

At present, the Indian Navy operates 16 conventional submarines, including five Scorpene-class submarines, four HDW submarines, and seven Kilo-class submarines.

These developments follow Sri Lanka’s recent amendment of its stance on research vessels, allowing them for replenishment. Sri Lanka also authorized a German research vessel to make a port call in Colombo, drawing criticism from China after declining Beijing’s request to dock the research vessel Xiang Yong Hong 03.

Speculation is rife that the Chinese vessels may make a port call at Colombo after Sri Lanka lifted its moratorium on research vessels. Reports suggest that these vessels aim to conduct hydrography and hydrological surveys to support future PLA submarine operations in the Indian Ocean region. However, concerns linger regarding their potential role in monitoring missile tests from the Balasore test range.

(With Inputs from agencies)

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