COMING-OF-AGE

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Dec 2017 10:42:19

RECENT signing of an agreement between India and Singapore, under which Singapore will allow Indian Navy ships to use its facilities for refuelling and stationing of warships submarines, aircraft carriers, giving it an edge in extending its operational reach in the region and beyond, and, the proposal for formation of a security quadrilateral between India, US, Australia and Japan are among the steps taken by the Government in the direction of enhancing operational reach of the Indian Navy with a view to counter the threat posed by the increased presence of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean Region.

The statement of Vice Admiral Girish Luthra that the Indian Navy is poised to enhance its operational reach from the Gulf of Aden to the Pacific Ocean region is significant against this backdrop. Indian Navy being a prima donna of the Indian Ocean Region, it was incumbent for India to play a major role. Though this was a long-back accepted principle, hardly any purposeful efforts were made in the past to give a concrete shape to this theory. But if we take into account critical steps taken by the Government like signing of defence cooperation pacts with various countries and development of domestic ports besides the one at Chabahar in Iran, one can infer that things have now started falling in place.

While our foreign policy experts are busy sewing up pacts with various strategically important countries in the region and beyond with a view to extend the reach of the Indian Navy, efforts are also being made to induct latest warships, aircraft carriers and submarines. The Navy, which had received a setback a few years back as it lost some of its warships in unfortunate mishaps, has now started emerging as a potent force with its latest acquisitions of ships and submarines. Once the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant joins the fleet in a couple of years, it will give a big boost to the prowess of the Navy. It is satisfying to learn that the Government has realised the need to boost the country’s naval power in order to ensure its dominance in the Indian Ocean. What was buried in the theory for long is now being practised for good.