The Indian Ocean, with its crowded and in some cases contested sea lanes, is becoming the focus of international maritime rivalry as various powers joust for advantage and influence in one of the global economy's most vital transit routes.
As if to highlight this trend, the Chinese navy recently conducted live-fire drills in the western Indian Ocean. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted the fleet commander as saying that his ships "carried out strikes against 'enemy' surface ships." Earlier this year, a Chinese fleet carried out similar live-fire drills in the eastern Indian Ocean.
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