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Top Asian News 2:56 a.m. GMT

India begins to flex its naval power as competition with China grows

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — For decades, India has focused its defense policy on its land borders with rivals Pakistan and China. Now, as its global ambitions expand, it is beginning to flex its naval power in international waters, including anti-piracy patrols and a widely publicized deployment close to the Red Sea to help protect ships from attacks during Israel’s war with Hamas. India sent three guided missile destroyers and reconnaissance aircraft in November when Yemen-based Houthi rebels began targeting ships in solidarity with Hamas, causing disruptions in a key trading route that handles about 12% of global trade. The deployment highlights the country as a “proactive contributor” to international maritime stability, said Vice Adm.