London: A Chinese warship confronted an Indian naval vessel shortly after it left Vietnamese waters in late July in the first such reported encounter between the navy’s of the two countries in the disputed South China Sea.
The unidentified Chinese warship demanded that the India’s INS Airawat, an amphibious assault vessel identify itself and explain its presence in the South China Sea, Financial Times reported.
The London-based paper said, that the Indian warship was in international water after completing a scheduled port call in Vietnam.
It termed the actions of the Chinese warship as the latest example of Beijing’s assertiveness which had irked India and Vietnam.
China claimed that South China Sea in its entirety, rejecting claims by other nations like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan over the resource rich region.
The paper said that Vietnamese foreign ministry has acknowledged that the Indian warship had visited the country from July 19-22 but said, it had no information about the incident.
Financial Times said, that Chinese defence and foreign ministries declined comment as did the Indian government.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently condemned acts of intimidation in the international waters in an apparent reference to mounting tensions in the South China Sea.
A Pentagon report last week had said China was rapidly building up its surface and underwater naval capabilities as it places growing priority on securing shipping lanes and mineral rich areas in South China Sea.