Geopolitics - December 2017

(Joyce) #1


Dear Readers, December 2017

It is once again that time of the year when we remember
the braves on our seas. The Indian Navy is the country’s
first line of defence and over the last few years has been
the first to be aware of how our neighbours are preparing
to encircle our coastline.
No one is more aware of Chinese moves in the Indian
Ocean Region than the Navy Chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba,
PVSM, AVSM, ADC, and he said so in so many words at the
annual press conference ahead of Navy Day. “People’s
Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) said they (submarines)
are being deployed in the Indian Ocean for anti-piracy
patrols. It is rather an odd task to give to a submarine... It
is not the most ideal platform to do anti-piracy patrols.”
The Admiral made it quite clear that the Navy was not
only prepared but was in the process of ramping up its
capabilities. That is exactly what this special edition of
Geopolitics looks at.
Dedicated totally to the Indian Navy, Geopolitics points
out the country’s responsibility as a net security provider
for the Indian Ocean region and how the only force that
is capable of taking up that responsibility is the Indian
Navy. There is, therefore, a need for a strong navy that
befits our geographical location, size and global stature.
Perhaps, what is more important is the fact that our
leaders need to chalk out a military doctrine that should
be in sync with the national security strategy and military
objectives. It is only then that operating environments,
threats and opportunities and timelines for maritime
capability-building will be realised. The Navy is well on
course to becoming a 200-ship fleet in the coming decade,
despite all the challenges like a limited supplier base, a

nascent defence industry and inadequate technological
expertise in certain areas.
The threat posed by China cannot be – indeed must
not be – overlooked. The other fact that cannot be swept
aside is China’s aim for a 415-ship navy by 2030. In such
a situation, India needs to build a capable aircraft carrier
fleet on which maritime strike bombers can be stationed.
These bombers can neutralise Chinese fleets far from
Indian shores.
However, the decision by the powers-that-be that
will be of utmost importance for India’s coastal defence
would be on the aircraft carrier. Though the government
is having second thoughts over the huge cost a nuclear-
powered aircraft carrier for the future will incur,
the Admiral pointed out that the carrier would be a
conventionally powered one. Even so, Geopolitics looks
at the current processes and tries to make sense of it.
This edition also tries to piece together what private
sector defence units as well as Defence PSUs are doing
to strengthen our infrastructure to counter China’s
posturing in the Indian Ocean Region and its formation of
the ‘String of Pearls’.
Admiral Lanba’s message to the country that the
Indian Navy was ready came not only as an assurance but
also as a clear warning. As a professional force, the Indian
Navy, the Admiral emphasised, evaluated the maritime
security environment in India’s areas of interest and
planned for any changes in its own deployments. Along
with all this, India has been pursuing maritime security
cooperation with friendly nations. Such cooperation will
help mitigate threats in the current security environment.
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