Monday, October, 03,2022

INDIAN NAVY: SENTINELS OF THE SEA

THE HISTORY he one, who conquered the blue waters, conquered the world. History is testimony to the fact that any ruler, who went on to become an emperor, always had a strong Navy. India was a super power in the ancient times.

The Chola Navy was considered one of the strongest navies of its time and one of the major reasons behind the Chola’s economic supremacy. Supremacy of Navy stands true even in the 21st Century.

If India has to become a super power again in 21st Century, it will have to build a blue water Navy capable of dominating the Indo-Pacific Region INDIA’S GEOSTRATEGIC LOCATION The Indo-Pacific is increasingly becoming a geostrategic focal point on the globe.

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) holds great relevance in the emerging world order of 21st Century, in terms of economic growth, natural resources, as well as major sea lines of communication.

Being geographically and economically central to the IOR, any geoeconomic contestations will have a huge impact on India. While China is aiming to secure access to strategic ports to gain an economic and strategic advantage, India’s role in the region is increasingly seen as a protector of the international order, particularly as it pertains to maintaining open sea lanes and the freedom of navigation.

PIVOTAL ROLE OF INDIAN NAVY India needs a modern Navy to protect its maritime interests and shoulder additional responsibilities, particularly in the current geo-political and security situation that prevails in the Indo-Pacific Ocean Region.

The Navy is striving to address the capability voids in areas such as aircraft carriers, tankers, landing platform docks, mine countermeasures vessels, submarines and integral helicopters.

We are also enhancing our surveillance capabilities through induction of long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, integral helicopters and high-altitude long-endurance aircraft or remotely piloted aircraft.

The focus has been to augment capability through induction of modern platforms, weapons and sensors. India also need to enhance it’s ability to conduct surveillance and maximize its maritime domain awareness. Some baby steps have been taken by Indian Navy towards Blue Waters, however, the national focus on blue waters has to go beyond rhetoric and start action on ground.
 

Unfortunately, India spends just about 15 per cent of its total military expenditure on its navy, far lower than its peers in the QUAD. INCREASING FOOTPRINTS IN BLUE WATERS Role of A&N Command.

India positioned it’s first tri services command at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar island. The primary aim was to place a command and communication structure at the islands, with reasonable logistics facilities.

The role can be suitably enhanced when the need arises. Offshore Bases. India is increasing it’s footprints in the blue waters of Indo-Pacific Ocean region. Strategically located islands in the Indian Ocean are crucial for domination of blue waters and safeguarding the country’s maritime natural resources.

These islands also provide an opportunity for coordinated and joint antisubmarine warfare missions for both the Indian and the Pacific Oceans.

Logistics bases are being built with other friendly countries at Cocos islands (Australia), Assumption Island (Seychelles), Alagela (Mauritius), Madagascar and Djibouti ( Japan).

MARITIME COLLABORATION India has also held multilateral naval exercises in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with 16 other countries and in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC), sailing alongside the Australian, Japanese, and U.S. naval forces. Maritime collaboration and multilateral naval exercise with QUAD member countries, conveyed the right signals to the world.

WAY AHEAD India is set to be a significant player in the global maritime pecking order for the 21st century, with a substantive ‘blue water navy’ ready for operating in various long range deep water settings.

As per Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, the Indian Navy aims to have 200 ships, 500 aircraft and 24 attack submarines, they said. At present, the Navy has around 132 ships, 220 aircraft and 15 submarines. We also require atleast three aircraft carriers.

The Navy has been requesting for additional funds since long to become battleready for blue waters.

The focus should be rapid capability expansion by indigenous construction, self-reliance, public and private sector participation under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ mission. Indian Navy is the key instrument of power for India as emerging Super Power.

It needs to transform itself to become capable of governing two oceans, the Indian Ocean as well the Pacific.

The Indian Navy with its current professionalism and future plans has the potential to enhance India’s image, in the future. The Indian Navy has created a niche for itself by exhibiting its professionalism and contributions towards nation building.

The grateful nation acknowledges it with a standing applause and salutes the Sea Warriors on the NAVY DAY-04 December. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR ARE PERSONAL

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