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India is sending military assistance to the Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Mauritius to counter China’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
China’s forays into the Indian Ocean have sparked concern in New Delhi, prompting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen India’s relationship with four nearby island nations. India is sending a 1,300-tonne patrol vessel, the Barracuda, to Mauritius on March 12 and plans to send an additional 13 vessels within the next year. India will also fit all four islands with surveillance radars and ocean mapping capabilities.
India has increased the foreign investment cap in its domestic defense industry to 49 percent from 26 percent and increased defense spending by 12 percent over last year to 2.29 trillion Indian rupees ($38.35 billion) for 2014-15. With the new budget, India plans to construct four warships in Mumbai and three in Kolkata, along with six nuclear-powered submarines.
As part of an effort to expand India’s sphere of influence into Southeast Asia, New Delhi also has plans to send two patrol vessel to Sri Lanka, two frigates to the Philippines and 10 patrol vessels to Vietnam.
China’s military has expanded its geographical reach in Asia over the past several years. Chinese submarines have conducted lengthy trips into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. China has also built seaports and power plants on several of the islands as part of China’s “Maritime Silk Road.”
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