The two-day maritime leg of the ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME 2023) began on Sunday with the participation of warships and aircraft from India, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.
According to Indian sources, the navy was in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone when at least five Chinese ships approached them. In the end, the fighters’ boats and warships passed each other without colliding, but some warships were forced to change their courses.
An independent Vietnam expert said he believes Beijing uses the militants to intimidate countries participating in the exercises and disrupt naval exercises. The military ships were accompanied by a research vessel that officially flew the Chinese flag.
Such maritime militias consist of so-called “commercial fishing vessels” that operate in the South China Sea in collaboration with Chinese authorities for political purposes. The Chinese government denies the militants exist.
Van Baum said this is not the first time Chinese “so-called fishing boats” have been near and threatening other countries’ warships. China has been accused by many of its littoral neighbors of harassing and threatening other countries’ fishing and military vessels in the South China Sea with naval vessels and vessels used by militants.
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