INDIAN NAVY: DELIVERING MARITIME SECURITY AND CONTRIBUTING TO NATION-BUILDING - The Daily Guardian
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INDIAN NAVY: DELIVERING MARITIME SECURITY AND CONTRIBUTING TO NATION-BUILDING

While the oceans span outwards from our shores, the Navy not only keeps a firm eye on the maritime environment but has always been ready and willing to contribute to nation-building in the aftermath of calamities

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The use of oceans, seas and waterways is as old as human existence itself. They have been the medium through which humanity, culture, ideas and trade have travelled across the globe. This would not be a counterintuitive idea given that two-third of the globe is covered with water. It is said that while borders on land divide, the oceans of the world unite. This quality of the oceans brings great significance to all nations, more so to a maritime nation such as ours.

The history of the world is replete with examples of seafaring and maritime nations that progressed and gained ascendancy by powering their national progress through the oceans. It was in the late 19th-early 20th century that Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840 – 1914) articulated the concept of the ‘maritime virtuous cycle’. This comprised three variables: industrial and agricultural production; merchant and naval; and markets. The maritime virtuous cycle operates within these elements with the merchant marine carrying goods to and from trading nations, creating national wealth and engendering national prosperity. As trade expands, the prosperous nation funds and maintains a naval force, which in turn ensures and protects national commerce.

The basic tenets of the maritime virtuous cycle have not changed in the hundred years since it was postulated. However, the maritime environment is very different today. As oceans facilitate access and create the global commons for humanity, being unregulated and unowned they also become the medium of source for threats to national security and prosperity. Historically, this has been well documented – be it the arrival of the Portuguese in the Indian ocean in the late 15th century or the ensuing loss of control of our oceans for the next three hundred years to the present day, when our coastal cities remain vulnerable to a few marauders in a small boat, albeit with support from inimical nations.

With the articulation of the maritime vision of India as SAGAR—Security and Growth for All in the Region—our maritime awakening is indeed well on its way. While we move outwards from our coast to reach out to our maritime neighbours, as we have done for many centuries before colonial rule, the spectrum of challenges our nation faces from the sea has also multiplied.

The Navy Day is celebrated every year on 4 December to commemorate the pivotal role of the Navy in the 1971 war with Pakistan. While this is the commemoration of a military victory at sea, the Navy is and must be seen as much more than a security force. It is a force for nation-building and contributes to strengthening our nation in many ways, in addition to providing a safe and secure maritime environment for the socio-economic prosperity of our citizens.

Oft repeated facts about our maritime domain are that India has a coastline of about 7,500 km with more than 1,100 islands and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of over 2 million sq km with a vast seabed area that is rich in resources. Over 97 per cent of our national trade is carried by sea routes – this in itself calls for a modern, mission-capable and forward-deployed Navy.

The manner in which the Navy contributes to both the hard and soft power of our nation is best understood by an examination of the various roles of the Navy. In simple terms, the Indian Navy and indeed most navies of the world have four predominant roles: Military, Diplomatic, Constabulary and Benign. While the military role is easily seen and understood, the latter three roles are as important and are a significant measure of national power.

It is said that it takes a lifetime to build a Navy. And our naval planners have always created a force structure keeping in mind the roles the Navy will be called upon to perform in service to the nation. Today, the Indian Navy is the preeminent element of our national diplomatic outreach in the Indo-Pacific Region, enabling and supporting the amalgamation of like-minded nations facilitating a convergence of ideas on maritime security and national prosperity. With regard to the constabulary role, the Indian Navy is the agency tasked with coordinating national coastal defence and has also been at the forefront of providing constabulary support to our friendly maritime nations through coordinated patrols and EEZ patrols, on request. Thus, not only does the Navy keep our own maritime environment safe, it also extends the umbrella of security to other maritime nations.

The benign role of the Navy has been in the news in the recent past, with Operation Samudra Setu, bringing home many thousands of our stranded citizens when the world was in lockdown as the pandemic raged incessantly. With Operation Sagar, the Navy also reached out as a nation to maritime neighbours and extended a helping hand to their own national efforts in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. The Navy’s will, cooperative posture and national outreach have earned the nation and the Navy the rightful sobriquets of ‘Preferred Security Partner’ and ‘First Responder’ in our maritime neighbourhood.

The contribution of the Indian Navy in nation-building can be expressed in more tangible terms too. The Navy today is a force comprising over 90,000 men and women in uniform and supporting staff. The Indian Navy, therefore, provides the opportunity to our citizens to serve the nation with pride, thus creating generations of skilled and disciplined men and women who continue to maintain and uphold high professional and moral ideals that reflect the ethos of the Navy.

As mentioned earlier, it takes a lifetime to build a Navy and this where the Indian Navy has been a most significant contributor to nation-building through shipbuilding. Even a cursory look at the maritime nations in the world will reveal that shipbuilding is the backbone of a nation’s maritime strength. This significance did not escape our naval planners who have, since Independence, focussed on indigenous shipbuilding to build our navy. Today, the Indian Navy is proud to be a ‘builder’s navy’ rather than a ‘buyer’s navy’. The link of shipbuilding with nation-building is not as tenuous as would be believed. As a fully mission-capable navy, the Navy’s shipbuilding efforts are focused on indigenous shipbuilders. More than 60 percent of the Navy’s budget is reserved for creation of assets and almost 70 percent of this is spent on indigenous shipbuilders—who in turn create an ecosystem of smaller industrial enterprises. Thus, the Indian Navy’s focus on indigenous shipbuilding spurs economic growth, engenders industrial skilling and creates strategic outcomes by sharing shipbuilding capacity with our friendly maritime neighbours.

The Indian Navy comprises a patriotic, motivated and capable cross-section of our nation’s youth and is cognisant of the nation’s faith in the Service. The investment of national resources in the Navy is significant and the Navy remains committed to plough back this investment to the maximum extent to the nation. The Indian Navy stands prepared and willing to rise to the nation’s defence no matter the cost, and to deliver help and support to our citizens across our entire maritime domain. While the oceans span outwards from our shores, the Navy not only keeps a firm eye on the maritime environment but has always been ready and willing to contribute to nation-building in the aftermath of calamities.

On the occasion of Navy Day 2020, the Indian Navy rededicates itself to the service of the nation and I conclude with the Vedic expression ‘Sham No Varunah’—may the Lord of the Seas be auspicious unto us—a reminder of our rich maritime heritage.

Commodore Susheel Menon is a serving Indian naval officer presently posted at Naval Headquarters and has interests in geopolitics and maritime strategy. The contents of this article are the personal views of the author and do not represent official position of the Indian Navy or the Government of India.

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Defence

A SALUTE TO THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF KARGIL BRAVEHEARTS

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o commemorate the 23 years of victory over Pakistan in the Kargil War of 1999, the Indian Army on Monday organised a motorcycle expedition from New Delhi to the Kargil War Memorial at Dras (Ladakh).

The 30-member rally was flagged off by Lt Gen B S Raju, the Vice Chief of Army Staff from the National War Memorial, New Delhi on Monday.

Over the next six days, the team of 30 serving personnel who have embarked on this expedition will endeavour to replicate the indomitable spirit of the Kargil brave-hearts by rekindling the spirit of fortitude, courage and adventure synonymous with the Indian Army, said the Ministry of Defence.

The bike rally would pass through Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh before culminating the expedition at the Kargil War Memorial, Dras on 26 July 2022.

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Defence

2 ARMY OFFICERS KILLED IN ACCIDENTAL GRENADE BLAST

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Two Army officers were killed in an accidental grenade blast along the Line of Control in the Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch, the Defence Public Relations Office said on Monday. During the treatment, one army officer and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to their injuries.

JCO Sub Bhagwan Singh

Captain Anand

“Last night, an accidental grenade blast occurred in Mendhar Sector, Dist Poonch, when troops were performing their duties along the Line of Control. The blast resulted in injuries to soldiers.

During the treatment, one officer and one JCO succumbed to their injuries, “said PRO Defence Jammu.

According to the Defence PRO, the blast occurred along the Line of Control (LOC) on Sunday night, when the army troops were performing their duties, thus injuring them. All the injured soldiers were immediately evacuated to Udhampur via helicopter.

As per the reports, one officer and one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) succumbed to the injuries.

The Indian Army expressed grief over the death of two officers.

The Indian Army tweeted, “General officer commanding (GOC) @Whiteknight_IA and all Ranks salute brave hearts Capt Anand and Nb Sub Bhagwan Singh who made the supreme sacrifice while performing their duties on the LoC in Mendhar Sector. We offer deepest condolences to their family members.”

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Defence

MAKE IN INDIA PUSH: IAF TO INDUCT COMBAT AIRCRAFT

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Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari on Sunday said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to induct Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and Light Combat Aircraft MK-1A and MK-2 along with the 114 multirole fighters. This will be done to bolster India’s combat capabilities through indigenisation under “Make-in-India” in the future.

The IAF chief said that the move will not only “strengthen the Air Force” but also bring a “huge boost” to the Indian aviation industry as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Narendra Modi government. “On the aircraft front, we are looking ahead for the AMCA and the LCA MK-1A and also the LCA MK-2 a few years from now. The case for 114 MRFA is also progressing well. With this, it will not only strengthen the Air Force but also bring a huge boost to the Indian aviation industry,” ANI quoted the Air Chief Marshal as saying.

“We have already committed for seven squadrons of AMCA. The numbers for the LCA MK-2, we will take a call as and when the first production model comes out and we start inducting the aircraft into the air force and we can always increase the quantity based on its performance and rate of induction,” he added while speaking about the number of units of the aircraft that the IAF is planning to induct.

When asked about the timeline of the induction of the S-400 air defence system from Russia into the forces, he said that it will be done as per the schedule adding that all deliveries should be completed by the end of next year. “The induction program of S-400 is going as per the schedule. The first firing unit has been inducted and deployed. The second unit is also in the process of getting inducted. Delivery schedules are on time, hopeful that by the end of next year all deliveries will be completed,” Chaudhari said.

“The threat of multiple fronts always exists. The capabilities of the air force in handling two fronts at a time will necessarily have to keep getting bolstered by the induction of various platforms. On the ground, we will need more radars, and additional SAGW systems and all of these are going to come from indigenous sources, for which the action is already at hand,” he added.

The IAF chief further said that the forces are fully in sync with the Centre’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat push which has resulted in the “quick induction” of platforms such as the light-combat helicopter and aircraft and radar systems.

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Defence

SEARCHES FOR SURVIVORS ON, ARMY INDUCTS RADAR

Ajay Jandyal

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The Indian Army on Sunday inducted radars to trace survivors under the debris which was laid after a cloudburst struck the area near the holy shrine of Amarnath on Friday.“Xaver 4000 radar has been inducted and has been operational at Amarnath since late noon for finding any survivors under the debris,” said Indian Army officials. Earlier, Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha on Sunday visited a base camp in Pahalgam and met pilgrims.“The security personnel and administration have carried out an efficient rescue operation. We pay condolences to those who lost their lives. Efforts are underway to resume the Yatra along with repairing the path. Pilgrims should come, we will provide them with all facilities,” Sinha assured.

Rescue operations underway at cloudburst-affected areas of Amarnath, on Sunday. ANI

The Amarnath yatra was temporarily suspended on Friday, till further notice. 

However, the pilgrims have been waiting at the Baltal Base camp for it to recommence.As many as 35 pilgrims were discharged following treatment, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) Officials informed on Saturday.“35 pilgrims have been discharged following treatment. 17 people are getting the treatment and are likely to get discharged tonight. All safe and healthy,” said SASB Officials.The critically injured patients were airlifted to Srinagar.“Critically injured people were airlifted to Srinagar. 2 people who were buried but were alive were rescued. We’re taking all precautionary steps. 41 missing as per Jammu and Kashmir police out of which some were rescued. Yatra may resume within a day or two,” said Kuldiep Singh, DG, CRPF.As per the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) data on Saturday, at least 16 people have died in the cloud burst incident near the holy shrine of Amarnath.Meanwhile, four Mi-17V5 and four Cheetal helicopters of the Indian Air Force were deployed for rescue and relief efforts at the Amarnath shrine on Saturday.The Cheetal helicopters flew 45 sorties, carrying five NDRF and Army personnel and 3.5 tonnes of relief material while evacuating 45 survivors from the holy cave.Earlier the officials on Saturday informed that the LG chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing rescue and relief operations at Amarnath cave.Meanwhile, the Indian Army informed that they have pulled up “critical rescue equipment” to speed up the rescue operations in the affected areas.“Indian Army pulls up critical rescue equipment to speed up the process of rescue operations and route maintenance in view of recent cloudburst of Amarnath in which 16 people lost their lives while several are assumed missing,” said the Indian Army.

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Defence

LET TERRORIST TALIB HUSSAIN NOT A MEMBER OF BJP: J&K BJP CHIEF

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Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Monday said the most wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Talib Hussain who was apprehended from Reasi district is neither an “active member of the BJP nor a primary member”.

 Speaking to ANI, Raina said, “Hussain is neither an active member of the BJP nor a primary member. There was a letter circular, on the basis of which it is believed that Sheikh Bashir, who is the President of BJP Minority Front of Jammu and Kashmir had appointed Hussain on 9 May.” He termed the reports fake which claimed that one of the two most-wanted LeT terrorists, who were overpowered by locals and handed over to the police, was in charge of the party’s IT cell.

 The BJP leader further said after that Hussain had circulated a letter himself and resigned from the membership of the party on 18 May. “A couple of years ago, Hussain along with with his three colleagues used to come to the BJP office as a media person. He had also interviewed me many times, he used to call himself a reporter for a YouTube channel named ‘New Sehar India’,” Raina said.

 “As a journalist, Hussain clicked photos with us many times in the BJP office. Pakistan terror outfit wanted to target the head office of the BJP of Jammu and Kashmir. It has been done through the targeted medium and carried out such incidents,” he said. “It is too soon to say more on this matter as the investigation is going on. Not only the BJP, but all the offices of other political parties need to be more alert now,” Raina added.

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INDIAN NAVAL SHIPS SAHYADRI, KADMATT VISIT SINGAPORE

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Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Kadmatt, under the Command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, visited Singapore from 1 to 3 July as part of the deployment to South East Asia. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the Indian Navy personnel engaged in social and informal exchanges as part of a cross-visit to improve mutual cooperation. The visit was aimed at consolidating ties and enhancing mutual understanding.The visit of Indian ships helped enhance maritime co-operation and bolster India’s strong bonds of friendship with Singapore that would further contribute towards security and stability in the region. The ships’ visit coincided with Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day on 1 July. “Indian Navy’s South East Asia deployment INS Sahyadri and INS Kadmatt under Command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, FOCEF in Singapore from 1 to 3 July. Professional and social interactions with Singapore Navy to enhance mutual cooperation and understanding and consolidate interoperability” read a tweet shared by the Indian Navy. It added, “Coinciding with Singapore Armed Forces SAF Day, 01 Jul 22, the ships’ visit strengthens maritime cooperation, bolstering India-Singapore bonds of friendship – contributing towards security and stability in the region.”

INS Sahyadri is an indigenously built multi-role stealth Frigate and INS Kadmatt is an indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Corvette. The Indo-Pacific vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region as articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in 2018 is the driving force behind India’s engagement in the region continued to be directed by the Indo-Pacific vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region as articulated by PM Modi at Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in 2018.In 2021, Singapore Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen participated in the inaugural India Ocean Region Defence Ministers’ Conclave (DMC), wherein he conveyed Singapore’s support to India’s leadership to foster a rules-based maritime order in the Indian Ocean region. This was followed by the annual Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX), conducted by Singapore Navy and Indian Navy. The exercise involved a virtual planning phase followed by a ‘contactless’ sea phase in the southern reaches of the South China Sea within international waters.During the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore’s position as a logistic hub enabled both the public and private sector to source emergency relief supplies such as oxygen- tanks, cylinders, concentrators, ventilators etc. from Singapore to India.

26 Indian Air Force sorties and four Indian Navy Ships transported substantial quantities of these items from Singapore to India till the end of June 2021.

This was followed by the 5th India-Singapore Defence Minister’s dialogue, which was held via virtual conference on 20 January 2021. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh discussed furthering cooperation and engagement with Singapore’s Defence Minister.

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