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!
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