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Steady increase in Chinese vessels in Indian Ocean, 100 ships travelling to Pakistan every year

A steady increase has been seen in Chinese research and fishing vessel, 100 ships travelling to Pakistan every year in the Indian Ocean region, something that can be a cause of concern given how they have been involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and data collecting.

Deployment of the Chinese research vessel has been observed in the ninety-degree East Ridge and southwest Indian ridge. In the last few weeks, 3 Chinese research vessels have been seen in the region.

When it comes to Chinese fishing vessels in the high seas, around 300 to 450 have been seen in the last four years. Mostly, fishing activity has been a seasonal behaviour since they withdraw from the Arabian sea before the onset of monsoon and return in September to October.

The IUU, involving China’s distant water fishing (DWF), has depleted fishing resources from areas near North & South Korean and Japanese waters to as far off as Latin America and West Asia.

Most of the areas Chinese vessels are fishing in the Indian Ocean are international water, outside of any country’s exclusive economic zone. Still, since it is unregulated, it impacts the ecosystem in surrounding waters. Beijing heavily subsidizes distant water fishing.

The 2-way vessel traffic between Pakistan and China via the Indian Ocean has also been significant even as both countries grow engagement. The number of vessels going from China to Pakistan stands at 100 vessels per year, while the number of vessels coming from Pakistan to China stands 50 per year.

Earlier this year, a Karachi-bound ship with Chinese crew was detained at Gujarat’s Kandla port and, after the inspection, was found to carry an autoclave, used in the ballistic missile. The development raised eyebrows in Delhi and quickly conveyed its concerns on the issue since the item was on India’s dual-use export list.


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