Maritime stocktaking

Source– The post is based on the article “Maritime stocktaking” published in The Indian Express on 3rd December 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- Various security forces

Relevance– Issues related to Indian navy

News– The article explains the importance of the navy for the security of our country. It also explains the achievement in the maritime sector.

Why is a strong navy needed for our country?

Border impasse at LAC and China expansionist activities in South China sea necessitate a strong navy.

In the 1971 conflict with Pakistan, the Indian navy was actively involved. INS Vikrant mounted sustained attacks on East Pakistan airfield, ports and riverine traffic. Maritime dominance had expedited Pakistan’s surrender.

What are significant achievements of India’s maritime past?

The navy of 10th century South Indian emperor Rajendra Chola defeated the Sumatran empire to establish chola power.

The century Maratha admiral Kanhoji Angre Konkan fleet constantly harassed the British, Dutch and Portuguese.

Bombay Wadia master shipbuilders was a ship-building pioneer who constructed warships for Britishers.

What are naval assets added by our country in the recent past?

In the 1960s, Indian naval leadership started indigenous warship production.

Mazagon Docks delivered the first license-built frigate, INS Nilgiri, in 1972.

The commissioning of India largest indigenously designed aircraft carrier called INS Vikrant is a major achievement for our navy.

The Indian navy has launched over a hundred warships; ranging from patrol boats to destroyers and from hydrographic vessels to nuclear submarines.

Recent induction of US built shipborne helicopters and maritime-reconnaissance aircraft will boost Navy surveillance and anti-submarine capabilities.

What are the shortcomings in inducting the naval assets?

Many of INS Vikrant major systems like gas-turbine engines, guns, missiles and radars are imported. Another concern is foreign origin of aviation-related activities such as workshops and landing-aids.

The time interval between ordering, launch and commissioning of Vikrant was excessive by international standards.

What is the way forward to strengthen the navy? Given the political leadership’s global aspirations; navy has made significant contributions to make India a QUAD member or as a regional “net security provider”.

The navy role must be spelt out. Its force architecture should be defined as well as funded.

There is a need for a comprehensive “maritime vision” and articulate it in a “National Strategy for Maritime Security”.

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