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