Nirmala flags Indian Ocean issues: 

Nirmala flags Indian Ocean issues

Context:

  • India has expressed concern at the increased militarisation in the Indian Ocean.
  • Concerns have also been raised against the extra-regional nations setting up a frequent presence in the region.

International activities in the maritime domain:  

  • China has set up or acquired stakes in a series of infrastructure facilities in the region.
  • The country has also recently opened its first overseas military base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
  • The Chinese Navy has also maintained a steady presence of warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean under the garb of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Indian Navy’s mission based deployment:

  • Indian Navy has approved new mission-based deployment plan for deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Objective of the mission:

  • Under this mission-based deployment plan, Indian Navy’s 14-15 ships will be deployed year-round in region.
  • These deployments are expected to meet any eventuality across spectrum of operations ranging from acts of maritime terrorism and piracy to Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions.
  • This also aims at maintaining 24/7 and round the year vigil with ships being sustained and turned around on station.
  • The areas where these ships and corvettes and surveillance aircraft are being deployed include the Malacca Strait, North Andaman Sea, Andaman Sea, Andaman Sea including Bangladesh and Myanmar, Lakshadweep islands and Maldives, besides Madagascar and Persian Gulf.
  • These vessels will monitor increased Chinese presence in these areas.

Major maritime challenges faced by India:

  • The Indian security establishment is on high alert to tackle the newest frontier of terror – Maritime Terrorism.
  • The terrorist organisations could misuse hundreds of Indian fishing boats seized over the years.
  • Piracy is part of a maritime insecurity environment in which different threats and forms of transnational organized crime, in particular fishery crimes, are linked.
  • The sea provides an easy way for international crime syndicates, unscrupulous traders and non-state actors to distribute their wares, or to provide belligerents with highly sophisticated weapons.
  • India’s land and marine boundaries is also exposed to infiltration by terrorists/militants and large scale illegal migration.
  • The frequent straying of fishermen into neighbouring country waters has not only jeopardised the safety of the fishermen but has also raised national security concerns.
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