New Delhi: In the midst of an ongoing standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh, Indian Navy warships tracked a Chinese research vessel which entered the Indian Ocean last month, officials said on Thursday. Also Read - China Asks US to Walk With it Instead of Continuing Provocations

A Yuan Wang-class research vessel entered the Indian waters from the Strait of Malacca in August. The vessel returned to China a few days ago after being under a constant watch of Indian Navy vessels deployed in the region. Also Read - Yikes! Doctor Removes 20 Live Worms From 60-Year-Old Chinese Man’s Eyelid

Similar Chinese vessels have been previously spotted in the Indian Ocean as China tries to gain sensitive information about the Indian maritime territory. Also Read - No Space For Third Party to Intervene on Border Issue: China Tells US

In December last year, the Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 1 was carrying out research activities in the Indian waters near Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and was detected by maritime surveillance aircraft operating there.

Such vessels could have also been used by the Chinese to spy on the Indian activities in the Island territory from where India can keep a close eye on the maritime movements in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and South-East Asian region.

Laws do not allow foreign countries to carry out any research or exploration activities in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the Indian Navy had, at that time, asked the Chinese research vessel to move out of Indian waters.

The development comes on a day when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the Rajya Sabha and said that China’s words on maintaining peace at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) did not “match their actions”.

“Chinese side again engaged in provocative military manoeuvres on the night of 29th and 30th August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake. But yet again, timely and firm actions by our armed forces along the LAC prevented such attempts from succeeding”, he said.

Responding to Opposition’s questions on Indian soldiers being pushed back from traditional patrolling points, Singh assured that there would be no change in patrolling patterns in eastern Ladakh, the site of the dispute.

The minister also said that India wants a peaceful solution to the boundary issue, but will not shy away from any action required to defend the sovereignty of the country.