India is disputing reports of Chinese warships forcing an Indian submarine to surface during a standoff in waters off Somalia last month. 'None of our submarines surfaced in the Gulf of Aden region as reported in a section of the Chinese media,' an Indian navy spokesman said yesterday. The spokesman, a senior defence ministry official, denied reports that a tense standoff had taken place between Chinese warships and an Indian submarine on January 15 near the Mandab Strait, which separates Yemen and Djibouti, at the western end of the Gulf of Aden. 'Nobody can force anybody to surface in international waters where everyone is free to sail,' he said. 'We have the capability to track [Chinese] warships from the Straits of Malacca ... near Singapore and not necessarily in the Gulf of Aden, as claimed in the media reports.' The official added that 'Indian warships are also deployed in the gulf region', implying that there would have been resistance if Chinese destroyers and anti-submarine helicopters had tried to corner an Indian submarine into surfacing. Another official told The Times of India that Indian and Chinese submarines regularly 'stalked and tracked each other's naval ships to record their acoustic, propeller and electro-magnetic signatures, but the reconnaissance and monitoring activities do not become public knowledge'. India accused the People's Liberation Army last month of encroaching into northwestern Arunachal Pradesh - an area that India claims is a state in its territory but Beijing claims belongs to China. Despite the flare-up, China will take part in a major military exhibition in India for the first time, with the deputy chief of the air force leading a 10-member delegation to Aero India to be held in Bangalore from Wednesday to February 15. Aero India, held every two years, is an exhibition of aviation systems to which India invites only 'friendly' countries. Pradeep Kumar, secretary of defence production and convenor of Aero India 2009, said Indian and Chinese armies held joint military exercises in each of the past two years.