In­dian Navy plans to keep at bay any trou­ble in the re­gion

SP's MAI - - EDITOR’S DESK -

The In­dian Navy is a force to reckon with in the in­ter­na­tional mar­itime com­mu­nity. It has been do­ing yeo­man ser­vice to the na­tion by a se­ries of ac­tiv­i­ties to de­ter any men­ace that may threaten In­dia’s sovereignty. With the In­dian Ocean re­gion (IOR) be­ing a very ac­tive re­gion on many fronts, the Navy has been not only very ac­tive but also proac­tive in keep­ing the re­gion in a pos­i­tive mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment. The Chief of the Naval Staff Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba in his press con­fer­ence on the eve of Navy Day has clearly spelt out that Navy plans to keep at bay any trou­ble in the re­gion.

The Navy has de­ployed over 40 ships, four sub­marines, and 12 air­craft in the In­dian penin­su­lar and is­land ter­ri­to­ries and is con­stantly test­ing its op­er­a­tional phi­los­o­phy, war-fight­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and com­bat tac­tics, through a se­ries of ex­er­cises, some jointly with for­eign navies, some with the other arms of the armed forces and in­de­pen­dently.

Ex­plain­ing in de­tail how the In­dian Navy main­tains a pos­i­tive mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment, the CNS has pointed out the joint ex­er­cises with IOR coun­tries; train­ing of per­son­nel of IOR coun­tries; co­or­di­nat­ing pa­trol in the Gulf of Aden along with Ja­pan, China and South Korea and many more ac­tiv­i­ties. The CNS has been very open with re­gard to de­vel­op­ments and in a re­sponse to one of our ques­tions on the light com­bat air­craft (LCA); he has stated how the LCA with its present en­gine is too heavy, hence not suitable for op­er­at­ing from an air­craft car­rier.

Mean­while, we have a num­ber of OEM an­nounce­ments and de­vel­op­ments, con­sid­er­ing the mar­ket po­ten­tial of In­dia. In­situ Pa­cific, Aus­tralia, a Boe­ing sub­sidiary, has of­fered mak­ing of drones in In­dia. This of­fer is ex­pected to dra­mat­i­cally change the sur­veil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the In­dian mar­itime se­cu­rity agen­cies and forces de­ployed on bor­ders to pre­vent ter­ror­ist in­fil­tra­tion. This was re­vealed to Ran­jit Ku­mar who vis­ited the In­situ fa­cil­ity in Aus­tralia re­cently.

An­other hap­pen­ing is that In­dia and the US have signed a let­ter of agree­ment for purchase of M777 how­itzers from BAE Sys­tems. When this hap­pens In­dia will join the US, Cana­dian and Aus­tralian forces in gain­ing the M777’s un­matched strate­gic and tac­ti­cal mo­bil­ity. The Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager for Weapon Sys­tems at BAE Sys­tems, Dr Joe Sen­f­tle said: “Our plan to es­tab­lish a do­mes­tic assem­bly, in­te­gra­tion and test fa­cil­ity fur­ther demon­strates our com­mit­ment to ‘Make in In­dia’ and re­mains a firm part of our strat­egy to work with the In­dian de­fence sec­tor across air, land, sea and se­cu­rity.”

While a num­ber of ac­qui­si­tions and ‘Make in In­dia’ plans hap­pen, the need to guard against cor­rup­tion has be­come that much more im­por­tant. The gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to an­nounce a pol­icy to tackle cor­rup­tion in de­fence deals. Lt Gen­eral P.C. Ka­toch (Retd) states that do­ing away with ‘blan­ket black­list­ing’ of a com­pany may prove un­pro­duc­tive. He said that the new pol­icy will have a fo­cused prod­uct-spe­cific ban, aimed at pun­ish­ing the cor­rupt among the for­eign sup­pli­ers and not hold to ran­som the coun­try’s mil­i­tary and de­fence needs. This in­deed is a wel­come step es­pe­cially at a time when a boost is be­ing given to de­fence in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion in the coun­try that would raise com­pe­ti­tion amongst com­pa­nies.

Happy read­ing!

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