Thursday, September 01, 2011
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday rejected media reports that claimed that an Indian Navy ship had had a confrontation with a Chinese vessel in the South China Sea off the Vietnamese coast. In a statement, government spokesman Vishnu Prakash said that the ministry was aware of news reports about an alleged confrontation, but said that no confrontation had taken place between the INS Airavat and the Chinese vessel in July 2011. "The Indian Naval vessel, INS Airavat paid a friendly visit to Vietnam between 19 to 28 July 2011. On July 22, INS Airavat sailed from the Vietnamese port of Nha Trang towards Hai Phong, where it was to make a port call.
INS Airavat (L24)At a distance of 45 nautical miles from the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea, it was contacted on open radio channel by a caller identifying himself as the “Chinese Navy” stating that “you are entering Chinese waters”. No ship or aircraft was visible from INS Airavat, which proceeded on her onward journey as scheduled. There was no confrontation involving the INS Airavat," the MEA statement said. The statement further said that "India supports freedom of navigation in international waters, including in the South China Sea, and the right of passage in accordance with accepted principles of international law. These principles should be respected by all."