New Delhi: At a time when the standoff at eastern Ladakh is going on, Defence analyst HI Sutton on Thursday stated that China has deployed a fleet of underwater drones called Sea Wing (Haiyi) glider in the Indian Ocean. As per reports, the drones can reportedly operate for months and make observations for naval intelligence purposes. Also Read - Trump Admin Blacklists Xiaomi, 8 Other Firms With Chinese Military Ties
“These sea gliders, which the Chinese are deploying en masse, are a type of Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (UUV) which were launched in mid-December 2019 and recovered in February after making over 3,400 observations,” HI Sutton wrote in Forbes magazine. Also Read - China Pakistan Economic Corridor: Where CPEC Stands Now?
In the report, the HI Sutton has mentioned that these gliders are similar to those deployed by the US Navy, one of which was seized by Beijing in 2016 to ensure “safe navigation of passing ships.” Also Read - Hope For Peace But Prepared to Deal With Any Threat: Army Chief Naravane on Ladakh Standoff
The HI Sutton further added in the report that events in December last year suggested that 14 gliders would be employed in the Indian Ocean mission but only 12 were used. However, these gliders are unpowered with large wings to glide that can run for long periods of time.
As per updates, Sea Wing can carry Conductivity, Temperature, Depth (CTD) sensors, as well as turbulence meter, Turbidimeter, chlorophyll sensor, dissolved oxygen sensor, nitrate and other biochemical sensors.
In the report, the HI Sutton said these Chinese gliders that are placed in the Indian Ocean were reportedly gathering oceanography data, which “sounds innocuous” however, is commonly gathered for naval intelligence purposes.”
On the other hand, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Tan Kefei said on Thursday that Beijing and New Delhi are in consultations to hold the ninth round of Corps Commander-level meeting to discuss the disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh.
Since the eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks between the armies of China and India, the two sides have maintained consultations on disengagement of frontline troops and strengthened management of border troops, Tan told an online media briefing.
The situation in the border areas is generally stable, he said, according to a transcript posted on the Chinese Defence Ministry website.