India has deployed its aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in the Arabian Sea at a time China and Pakistan are holding a nine-day mega naval exercise in the region, a move seen as New Delhi sending a signal to its two neighbours.
Top officials of the Naval headquarters were on board the aircraft carrier when it was deployed in the strategic mission, military sources told PTI.
Pakistan and China on Monday launched a major drill in the North Arabian Sea with an aim to increase inter-operability and strategic cooperation between their two navies.
The exercise 'Sea Guardians' is taking place in the midst of heightened tension between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. Key platforms of both China and Pakistan, including submarines, destroyers and frigates are part of the exercise.
Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, with MiG29K fighters on board, has been sent with a strategic objective, the sources said.
China is developing Pakistan's deep water Gwadar port in North Arabian Sea and has ramped up its military presence in the region, triggering concerns in India.
Gwadar is being connected through the over USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to China's Xinjiang province, providing a key land route to China to access the warm waters of Arabian Sea.
The Arabian Sea provides entry to the Indian Ocean where China has built a logistics base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.