China's Navy wants to join hands with India to maintain security of the Indian Ocean, amid growing concerns in New Delhi over the increasing presence of the PLA fleet in India's backyard.
Throwing open its strategic South Sea Fleet (SSF) base in the coastal city of Zhanjiang to a group of Indian journalists for the first time, People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officials say the Indian Ocean is a common place for the international community.
"It is my opinion China and India can make joint contributions to the safety and security of the Indian Ocean," Capt Liang Tianjun, Deputy Chief of General Office of China's SSF said.
His remarks came as China's Navy embarked on a massive expansion to extend its global reach.
Liang also explained the growing forays of the Chinese warships and submarines into the Indian Ocean, where China for the first time established a naval base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Defending the first Chinese overseas naval base against criticism that it would amplify China's growing influence, he said it will act as a logistics centre and support anti- piracy, UN peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief missions in the region.
The Djibouti base will also provide a resting place for Chinese navy personnel, he said.
But analysts feel the opening of the first Chinese military base abroad was in tune with PLAN's ambitions to expand its global reach...