The first ever All-Woman Crew of naval officers of the Indian Navy embarked upon a unique circumnavigation of the globe, named Navika Sagar Parikrama on board Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini. The expedition covered over 21,600 nautical miles, visited five countries, crossed the Equator twice, sailed across four continents and three oceans, and “passed south” of the three “Great Capes” – Leeuwin, Horn and Good Hope. This was both a historical and glorious event globally and the credit must go to the Indian Navy to have the vision to plan and execute such a challenging task. INSV Tarini and its crew also kept the flag of Women’s Empowerment flying high by celebrating it in such a unique manner. We at SP Guide Publications also support Women’s Empowerment in a big way and thus the lead article in this issue is on Navika Sagar Parikrama.
China is sensitive when another nation challenges its autonomy of the South China Sea (SCS). The last freedom of navigation operation’ (FONOP) exercise by US resulted in China accusing the US of “serious political and military provocation”. China reacted to this by unfurling its grand design for the SCS and Taiwan by carrying out maneuvers by the Chinese Air Force in SCS and Western Pacific, calling them “rehearsals for future wars.” The PLA Daily reported that Forty-eight warships, 76 aircraft and more than 10,000 sailors and soldiers took part in the parade which was hailed as “the biggest maritime military parade since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The exercise culminated in firing in the Taiwan Straits. Read all about the exercise and its geo- political implications in an article on the subject.
Then there were two major joint naval exercises. The first one was Malabar which was held from June 7 to 16 with India, Japan and US navies participating in the firstever Malabar exercise conducted off Guam. Another key event took place just before the exercise was renaming the US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command, which indicates the importance being given by US to India. The other exercise was RIMPAC, which is the world’s largest maritime warfare exercise held biennially during June and July of even-numbered year under the aegis of the US Navy Pacific Command. RIMPAC 2018 is its 26th edition and is founded on theme “Capable, Adaptive, Partners”. Twenty-six nations, 47 surface ships, five submarines, 18 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in the RIMPAC. India was also was one of the participants. A write up on both these exercises is included in this issue. Also included is a tribute to Admiral Jayant Ganpat Nadkarni who was the 14th Chief of the Naval Staff and passed away on July 2, 2018. The issue just about wraps up with the news digest. Happy Independence Day and pleasant reading to all you discerning readers.