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Japan sends first-ever aid to Indian islands at mouth of Malacca

Andaman and Nicobar Islands have potential to monitor Chinese vessels up close

A boat with an Indian flag is seen on Neill Island, an island of the Andaman Islands. (Photo by Mallika Agarwala)

NEW YORK -- Submarines are almost impossible to detect on the open sea unless they are monitored from the time they leave harbor. For militaries tracking Chinese submarines, one important opportunity to track the secretive vessels is when they pass through the Malacca Strait, moving from the South China Sea into the Indian Ocean.

The shallow waters and crowded sea lane force submarines to surface while passing through the world's most critical chokepoint.

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