In­deed united through oceans


The se­cond edi­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Fleet Re­view (IFR), which con­cluded re­cently at Visakha­p­at­nam, had over 50 navies of the world par­tic­i­pat­ing, mak­ing the event truly spec­tac­u­lar and re­flect­ing the spirit of IFR – ‘United through Oceans’. Rear Ad­mi­ral Sushil Ram­say (Retd) gives us a ring­side view of the mam­moth event, a long-stand­ing tra­di­tion of the navies to show­case naval pre­pared­ness. In re­cent times, the IFR has come to stay as a con­gre­ga­tion of war­ships of friendly for­eign navies to demon­strate sol­i­dar­ity, mu­tual trust and co­op­er­a­tion. At Visakha­p­at­nam, be­sides 65 In­dian Naval war­ships and three In­dian Navy sub­marines, the In­dian Ocean came alive with 24 for­eign ships, two ships from the In­dian Coast Guard and three from Mer­can­tile Marine. The guests of hon­our in­cluded the Pres­i­dent of In­dia Pranab Mukher­jee and the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, among many oth­ers.

The Pres­i­dent aptly re­ferred to how IFR sig­ni­fied a com­mon de­sire to use the seas to pro­mote peace, co­op­er­a­tion and friend­ship, as also to de­velop part­ner­ships for a se­cure mar­itime fu­ture. The navies of the world have a unique role in pro­mot­ing good­will, nur­tur­ing peace and tran­quil­lity of the oceans.

The Prime Min­is­ter gave a nice twist to the event, fo­cus­ing on how it was al­ready re­flect­ing the ‘Made in In­dia’ as­pect with nearly 37 of the In­dian ships be­ing made here. He also re­ferred to his vi­sion of ‘Blue Econ­omy’ and that an es­sen­tial part of this pur­suit would be the de­vel­op­ment of In­dia’s coastal and is­land ter­ri­to­ries in a holis­tic man­ner.

In this is­sue, we have four opin­ion­ated ar­ti­cles by Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd), start­ing with the Tech­nol­ogy Vi­sion 2035 which has iden­ti­fied 12 sec­tors and tech­nolo­gies that need to be de­ployed. The Vi­sion talks about fu­ture tech­nolo­gies rang­ing from fly­ing cars, re­al­time trans­la­tion soft­ware, e-sens­ing to 100 per cent re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als which can be used to solve day to day prob­lems. Prime Min­is­ter Modi re­leased the Vi­sion doc­u­ment at the 103rd In­dian Sci­ence Congress re­cently, promis­ing that the govern­ment would ‘make it eas­ier to do sci­ence and re­search’.

In his view­point on spec­trum, Gen­eral Ka­toch opines that the coun­try may not have a na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy, but the mil­i­tary has its own doc­trine. Seek­ing a re­view of its de­ci­sion of tak­ing away 150 MHz spec­trum from de­fence, he avers that it may have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the com­bat ca­pac­ity of the mil­i­tary.

In an­other view­point, he talks about how the Army’s Tac­ti­cal Com­mand Con­trol and In­for­ma­tion (Tac C3I) Sys­tem is go­ing at an ex­cru­ci­at­ingly slow pace and that our map­ping is 30 years be­hind, urg­ing the forces that be to fac­tor in in­for­ma­tion as a strate­gic as­set.

Talk­ing about trends in un­manned tech­nolo­gies, he points out to Ehang 184, a Chi­nese au­ton­o­mous aerial ve­hi­cle which does not re­quire the pas­sen­ger to have any pi­lot train­ing. The high level of flight au­to­ma­tion and re­dun­dant sys­tems can be mil­i­tarised and scaled to other sys­tems. How­ever, this Chi­nese ca­pa­bil­ity which in­vari­ably will get passed on to pro­tégé Pak­istan has its own im­pact on In­dia, he sur­mises. Worse, ter­ror­ist out­fits will have an­other plat­form to ex­ploit.

All this and more in this edi­tion of SP’s M.A.I. We look for­ward to your feed­back as to con­tin­u­ously im­prove our con­tent. Happy read­ing!

Jayant Baran­wal

Pub­lisher & Editor-in-Chief

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