India’s maritime domain

India’s Reach in Maritime Domain Awareness

What are the significance and issues of QUAD and Malabar Exercise?

  1. Malabar Exercise – It is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • Aim– it aimed at interoperability with an emphasis on humanitarian assistance, anti-submarines warfare, counter-terror operations, gunnery training and aerial surveillance.
  • Australia inclusion– The move will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.
  1. QUAD grouping– the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad has its roots in the Core Group of four senior diplomats representing the USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.

Issues-

Undefined vision– Despite the potential for cooperation, the Quad remains a mechanism without a defined strategic mission.

  • Its members have neither created a charter nor invested it with any substance.
  • China’s view to QUAD-China to describe it as a “headline grabbing idea which will dissipate like sea-foam.

What measures can be opt to tackle China?

In order to rein in China’s hegemonic urges, there is need for affected nations to come together to show their solidarity and determination in a common cause.

  1. Indo-Pacific Concord– There is need to create a broad-based “Indo-Pacific Concord”, of like-minded regional democracies as an organization with a maritime security charter,  which has no offensive or provocative connotations.
  • The Concord could also designate forces to uphold maritime security or “good order at sea”.
  1. Multinational naval exercise– A shore-based secretariat can be established in a central location like Port Blair, in the Andaman Islands, which would schedule and conduct periodic multinational naval exercises. The exercises could be structured to hone the skills of participating navies in specializations like-
  • Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • Countering non-traditional threats.
  • Undertaking search-and-rescue operations.
  • Establishing networked maritime domain awareness.

What are the concerns for India in context of QUAD?

  1. India-Australia relations-
  • Australia’s past political ambivalence towards India, its trenchant criticism of our naval expansion and its vociferous condemnation of the 1998 nuclear tests.
  • Beijing’s recent influence on Australia’s foreign policy, which prompted its flip-flops over the sale of uranium to India as well as its peremptory withdrawal from the Quad in 2008.
  1. BECA Agreement- There is need to pay heed to valid concerns, regarding the possible compromise of information impinging on India’s security and whether these agreements will barter away the last vestiges of India’s strategic autonomy.

Way forward-

  • India should never lose sight of the truism in international relations, that it is the unerring pursuit of national interests that guides the actions and policies of every nation.
  • India needs to understand the salience of maritime power
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