A massive defence exercise has been conducted by India in the Indian Ocean for the first time and first of its kind in which Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and coast guards took part. In this exercise, all submarines, operational ships, aircraft of the Indian Navy, men and equipment of the Indian Army, each type of aircraft of the Indian Air Force, aircraft and ships of the Indian Coast Guard participated.
This war games exercise were conducted to see the threat perceptions of a two-front war with Pakistan and China, claimed by the Indian defence ministry.
The war games exercise were concluded on February 28. About it, the defence ministry said, “The war games conducted on both the seaboards of India extended from the Northern Arabian Sea off the coast of Gujarat to the Southern Indian Ocean off the Sunda Straits near Indonesia.”
Around the same time of this war games exercise, a fleet of destroyers, one frigate, a 30,000-tonne amphibious transport dock and also three support tankers had entered the Indian Ocean and it has been reported by a Chinese news portal Sina.com.cn. However, the reason for this deployment was missing from this report but it is believed that it was an attempt by China to exert its influence over the Maldives. Maldives which is a strategically located chain of islands in the IOR(Indian Ocean Region).
Following the report, a news came reporting that the warships of China turned around and returned to the South China Sea through the Lombok Strait. To cross the bases in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, China’s People’s Liberation Army and Navy use four straits namely Malacca, Lombok, Sunday, and Ombai Wetar.
About the entrance of Chinese warships, the Indian defence ministry said that it was believed to be destined to linger off the Maldives, then after encountering the mission-ready ships of the Indian Navy which was involved in the war games exercise, they made a U-turn. Due to this war games exercise, China had to abort its mission.
The defence ministry said, “Mission-ready ships are now forward deployed in critical areas of the IOR with the inherent capability to respond to emerging threats and benign situations. The Navy has already reaped rich dividends from this concept.”
To maintain the dominance in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy executed a mission-based deployment concept in July 2017. The recent exercise aimed to review the concept. Also, the Indian Navy disclosed that it has cut the flab in different exercises held at sea.
The defence ministry said that “Greater focus has been accorded to conflict readiness across the spectrum, as well as realistic scenarios likely to be faced at sea.”
The aim of the exercise was to focus on the realistic scenario likely to manifest in the future as terrorist attacks from the sea area on populated areas and critical infrastructure, protection of India’s significant seaborne trade.