China deploys new missile destroyer, frigate in its anti-piracy fleet

 Beijing: China has deployed its latest guided missile destroyer and frigate in the fleet of naval ships participating in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somalian coast in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, a media report said on Thursday. China’s 32nd convoy fleet to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters set sail from a military port in Zhoushan, East China’s Zhejiang Province on Thursday, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy official announced.

The naval fleet includes the guided missile destroyer Xi’an, the missile frigate Anyang and the Gaoyanghu, a comprehensive supply ship, state-run Global Times reported. It is the first time Xi’an and Anyang are participating in an escort mission, it said. One of the country’s new generation of self-developed Type-052C guided missile destroyers, Xi’an, which entered into service in February 2015, possesses over-thehorizon strike capability at sea, the report said.

Anyang, a domestically developed frigate, entered into service in April 2018 and is capable of attacking surface ships and submarines alone or in conjunction with other naval forces. It also has strong long-range alert and air defence capabilities. It is part of China’s new generation of main combat ships, the report said.

China, which is ramping up its naval and air power by reducing the size of army to expand its global influence, is actively taking part in the anti-piracy operations in the Somali coast where it had also built its first overseas logistics base in Djibouti. Besides advanced naval ships, China has been deploying its submarines in anti-piracy operations to test their endurance and operational capability, raising concerns in India as they sail through the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. India expressed concern to Sri Lanka in 2015 when a Chinese submarine, reportedly part of the convey of the naval fleet that took part in the anti-piracy operations, docked at the Colombo port.

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