In a fresh embarrassment to the Chinese establishment, an Indonesian fisherman had caught a Chinese submarine drone near Selayar Islands, part of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province. News reports citing Indonesian news outlet Detik News has said that the object the fisherman identified as Saeruddin bears striking resemblance to submarine drones developed by Chinese Academy of Sciences, a state-run organisation in China.
About this incident, Indonesian security & defence-related Open source Intelligence- JATOSINT tweeted “A fisherman in Selayar Island, South Sulawesi, has found a UUV: Length: 225 cm, Tail: 18 cm, Wingspan: 50 cm, Trailing antenna: 93 cm. Very similar to China's 'Sea Wing' UUV, which, if it's true raised many questions especially how it managed to be found deep inside our territory.”
There have been multiple instances of such drones being found in Indonesian waters. Earlier, they were reportedly found near Masalembu Islands and Riau Islands of Indonesia. These islands, along with Selayar Islands are situation near sea-routes that connect the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean.
With its much-hyped strategic doctrine of the ‘String of Pearls’ and deployment of surveillance UAVs, China has long been working to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean where the Indian Navy is dominant. Whether these drones are being used to chart undersea routes for Chinese submarines is not yet clear.