Islamabad - India is heavily investing on building its naval capacity to increase maritime operations in western Indian Ocean with explicit goals to watch growing Chinese maritime presence.

This comes after China took over Pakistan’s deep sea Gwadar port and set up its naval base at Djibouti. Japan and the United States are also cooperating with India to cherish the goal, diplomatic sources told The Nation.

Chinese naval presence in the region assumed greater significance after its launching of multi billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as part of One Belt, One Road project to connect its south western region with Gwadar port.

Gwadar port enjoys greater strategic significance as it lies outside the mouth of Strait of Hormuz which caters for 60 percent of world’s hydrocarbon trade.

In contrast, India is pursing connectivity plans parallel to the one by China. Indian plans include access to central Asia through Iranian Chabahar port which is called North South Trade corridor.

“Indian Navy is undergoing phenomenal upgrade with the help of some other friendly countries,” a senior Pakistani diplomat said, adding New Delhi has already launched CPEC stonewalling efforts.

New Delhi made explicit its concern about CPEC earlier this month at Raisina Dialogue hosted by Indian Ministry of External Affairs which deliberated at length Chinese One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project with special reference to China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

At the Dialogue, inaugurated by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the Indian government signaled New Delhi’s concerns about Beijing’s approach toward connectivity and the region more broadly.

In his presentation Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar even raised concerns regarding the criteria of newly established Asia Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) in funding some projects under China’s OBOR project.

He said this is a crucial reason why India, which is one of the founding members of the new bank, pushed for a provision in the charter of AIIB (that is expected to fund some OBOR projects) that requires project financing in disputed territory to have the agreement of the disputants.

In addition, he said there clearly are also concerns about the way China is pursuing OBOR, the motivations behind it, and particularly the kind of influence that Beijing might be seeking through it.

The foreign secretary elaborated on this at the Raisina Dialogue and also had a message for China, which has sought global multipolarity:

"The key issue is whether we will build our connectivity through consultative processes or more unilateral decisions. Our preference is for the former… But we cannot be impervious to the reality that others may see connectivity as an exercise in hard-wiring that influences choices”.

He warned this should be discouraged, because particularly in the absence of agreed security architecture in Asia, it could give rise to unnecessary competitiveness. Connectivity should diffuse national rivalries, not add to regional tensions.

Without naming China Pakistan Economic Corridor he said India is unlikely to give a formal endorsement of OBOR as a whole.