Pak Prospect In In­dian Naval Ex­pan­sion

New Delhi aims to op­er­a­tionalise its navy with US. Tak­ing ben­e­fit from US’s pres­ence in the re­gion In­dia is try­ing to foil Chi­nese naval in­flu­ence, ad­vanc­ing its own ma­rine am­bi­tions

The Day After - - CONTENT - By QurA tul Ain hAfeez

While ad­dress­ing four day In­dian Naval Com­man­der Con­fer­ence in May 2017, Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba had asked his top com­man­ders to as­sid­u­ously work to­wards ex­pand­ing the Navy’s “op­er­a­tional foot­print” in the In­dian Ocean Re­gion (IOR) in the back­drop of In­dia and China jostling for the same strate­gic space in the re­gion. He went on to add that the Navy should also con­tinue to make ef­forts to be viewed as the “the sta­bi­liz­ing force” as well as “the first re­spon­der” by the lit­torals in the IOR. Whether there is any­thing con­crete is tak­ing place only time will tell. But, one thing is sure that Ad­mi­ral gave a cue that In­dia is se­ri­ous about its naval ex­pan­sion, though in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion of its navy be­gan much be­fore.

In fact, In­dia is in­dus­tri­al­iz­ing her naval po­tency at rapid pace to ac­com­plish the po­si­tion of a “Blue Wa­ter Navy”. Nearly 90 per­cent of the In­dian trade is car­ried out via sea route, which re­quires In­dia to ex­pand her re­silient ma­rine power in the In­dian Ocean, se­cur­ing mar­itime ob­jec­tives and cor­re­spond­ingly es­tab­lish­ing her hege­mony in re­gional con­stituency and be­yond.

The In­dian Navy re­cently took de­liv­ery of the first do­mes­ti­cally as­sem­bled long-range sur­face-to-air mis­sile sys­tem (LRSAM) on Au­gust 27. The Barak-8 (first LRSAM) is in­dige­nously pro­duced by In­dian mis­sile maker Ba­harat Dy­namic with the as­sis­tance of In­dian MoD’, De­fense Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion (DRDOs) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a pro­duc­tion line setup by Is­raeli de­fense con­trac­tors IAI and its sub­sidiary Rafael in In­dia. LRSAM is de­signed to deal with in­com­ing air­borne threats with a range of 90-150 kilo­me­ters and is equipped with ad­vanced phasedar­ray radar, com­mand and con­trol, mo­bile launch­ers and mis­siles with pro­gres­sive ra­dio fre­quency (RF) searchers.

How­ever, In­dia’s urge to ad­vance blue wa­ter pro­fi­cien­cies is per­ceived as an in­tim­i­da­tion by oth­ers in the neigh­bor­hood. It has par­tic­u­larly am­pli­fied Pak­istan’s in­ten­tions, whose fore­most se­cu­rity haz­ards hail from In­dia. More­over ma­te­ri­al­iz­ing the nu­clear trio am­bi­tions would pro­vide In­dia with a sec­ond-strike ca­pa­bil­ity. Con­se­quently the nu­clear de­ter­rence equa­tion flanked by the hos­tile com­peti­tors will be dis­rupt­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate as per data of 2016, the In­dian Naval as­sets in­clude 79,023 per­son­nel and a large fleet com­pris­ing of 2 air­craft car­ri­ers, 1GAH am­phibi­ous trans­port dock, 9 land­ing ship tanks, 14 fri­gates, 10 de­stroy­ers, 1 nu­clear pow­ered sub­ma­rine and 14 con­ven­tion­ally pow­ered sub­marines, 25 corvettes, 7 minesweep­ing ves­sels, 47 pa­trol ves­sels, 4 fleet tankers, nu­mer­ous auxiliary ves­sels, 8 mar­itime re­con­nais­sance and an­ti­sub­ma­rine air­craft pur­chased from Boe­ing Co. for $ 2.1 bil­lion in 2009 and ap­proved an or­der for 4 more air­craft.

In­dia is repet­i­tively re­fin­ing and ac­cu­mu­lat­ing naval com­pe­tences, her navel bud­get for the up­com­ing decade worth $61 bil­lion in or­der to in­crease size

of navy by half. In­dige­nously In­dia not only lifted her ves­sels build­ing ca­pac­ity, but she has done fair enough col­lab­o­ra­tion as well. In­dia plans to build a 160 plus-ship navy, three air­craft car­rier bat­tle groups, 40 war­ships and sub­marines in­clud­ing stealth de­stroy­ers, anti-sub­ma­rine corvettes and stealth fri­gates, INS Vikrant due to be in­ducted by 2018-19, in­duc­tion of MiG-29K mul­ti­role air­craft and Kamov28 and 31 he­li­copters to po­si­tion from its air­craft car­ri­ers as per 2022 plan. These ac­qui­si­tions would im­mensely im­prove In­dian re­con­nais­sance ca­pa­bil­i­ties and would pro­vide the In­dian Navy strate­gic out­reach in the In­dian Ocean.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2009 up­dated In­dian Mar­itime Doc­trine In­dian Navy will put un­der her con­trol all the choke points, sig­nif­i­cant is­lands, and trade routes, the In­dian Ocean, Ara­bian Sea and in the Bay of Ben­gal. This vi­sion is put for­ward for the In­dian Navy by 2025. In­dia aims to op­er­a­tionalise its naval force in com­bi­na­tion with the United States. Tak­ing ben­e­fit from US’s ex­is­tence in the re­gion In­dia is try­ing to counter Chi­nese naval in­flu­ence and ad­vanc­ing its own naval am­bi­tions as well.

The more im­por­tant point to pon­der is that In­dia set to nu­cle­arize the In­dian Ocean. This will de­ter other states of the re­gion more es­pe­cially Pak­istan. Pak­istan, in­tend­eds to sus­tain an ef­fec­tive nu­clear de­ter­rent against In­dia, the out­line of the lat­ter’s nu­clear triplet is a hos­tile growth, in­ten­si­fy­ing the se­cu­rity dilemma be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan. In­dian naval nu­clear ad­vance­ment will qual­i­ta­tively mod­ify the strate­gic equi­lib­rium amid In­dia and Pak­istan. It might pro­voke Pak­istan en­hance naval nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity of her own for re­bal­anc­ing the de­ter­rence equa­tion be­tween the two. Sub­se­quently this will ham­per the strate­gic sta­bil­ity and geopo­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion of the south Asian re­gion thus lead­ing to arms buildup and an arms race would start.

It is nec­es­sar­ily rec­om­mended for Pak­istan to keep an eye on In­dian naval trans­for­ma­tion, thus by ex­pand­ing her own indige­nous de­fense man­u­fac­tur­ing to meet the con­tem­po­rary needs of the Pak­istan Navy; be­cause her flimsy eco­nomic sources does not let her to pur­chase new weapon sys­tems from in­dus­tri­al­ized coun­tries. Pak­istan must boost her joint ven­tures with coun­tries like China, Ger­many, and France to grow her nau­ti­cal strength and over­whelmed her fee­ble­ness. Pak­istan navy should also im­prove her ex­plo­ration and re­con­nais­sance pro­fi­cien­cies Pak­istan Navy should in­vite coun­tries and par­tic­i­pate in joint navel ex­er­cises with other coun­tries to en­large her op­er­a­tive war fight­ing abil­i­ties at sea to over­whelmed up­com­ing in­tim­i­da­tions and en­coun­ters to her na­tional se­cu­rity.

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