Underwater Drones

The Indian Navy was put on high alert in light of several Chinese underwater drones detected in the Indian Ocean Region.

The Issue

Apart from deploying oceanic research vessels and hydrographic survey ships in the Indian Ocean Region, China has now taken to deploying underwater drones in the region. While such gliders are used for conducting surveys for commercial activities and deep sea mining, they could also be used for collecting information for submarine warfare operations- like gauging salinity, best routes, temperatures, etc.

Sea Wing Glider

The underwater drones deployed by the Chinese are called the ‘Sea Wing Gliders’. These are long range gliders that were previously deployed from the Xiangyanghong 06- a research vessel. These gliders are capable of operating for several months on end. Last year, they made as many as 3,400 observations in the IOR.

Importance of Indian Ocean Region

The Indian Ocean Region is of significance because of the high stakes both the countries have in it. It is a vital route for importing oil- as both countries are dependent on foreign sources. The presence of several chokepoints in the IOR, like the Strait of Hormuz, gives it geopolitical significance. The IOR also contains many important trade routes.

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