The Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba while addressing to GMC told that they are focusing on broadening the surveillance areas in the Indian Ocean Region to cover all choke points in the face of increasing maritime threats.
10 Indian Ocean littoral states participated in the Goa Maritime Conclave where Admiral Lamba in his statement said, “Last year, we had relook our deployment pattern and we reached a consensus within Indian Navy to have mission based deployment so that our area of interest can be kept under permanent surveillance. So the ingress and egress route of the Indian ocean are being kept under surveillance so that we have better awareness and know what is happening.” Around 12 to 15 ships are currently deployed at the choke points.
Defence Minister Of India Nirmala Sitharaman refers to China while expressing her concern on the extra-regional nations maintain near permanent presence in the region. In the name of anti-piracy, China has been sending ships to the northern Indian Ocean to keep eye on the ocean and with the average of 8 to 10 ships per year deployment have been made. In the August this year, the number increased up to near 14. China has been stepping to monitor not only the Indian Ocean Region but also it has opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa monitor across the Gulf of Persian and the Gulf of Aden.
As per the view of Former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, “It is imperative that our Navy should be more visible in our own waters. Visibility is an important part of peacetime signaling.”
Former Western Naval Commander, Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha told in GMC that China has been trying to get past the Malacca Dilemma from which its supplies of energy will pass through. Malacca Dilemma is a critical choke point of China.
Admiral Lanba while speaking at the conference said that there was a comprehensive agreement for identifying common security hazards in all key countries and for more coordination and sharing of information. Dangers, essentially in non-conventional nature, include maritime terrorism, irregular fishing, illegal fishing in global commons, pollution, maritime theft, drug and human trafficking.
Although, India is considering a cooperative framework to deal with common threats, Admiral Lamba has clarified that such efforts like coordinated patrol and joint patrol will be made only with the marine neighbors, “We only do coordinated patrols and joint patrols with nations who are our Maritime neighbours. We are not looking at joint patrols with the U.S Navy at this moment.”
Also, a senior Navy officer while taking about patrolling said, “Earlier, there were flag showing missions in terms of overseas deployments for exercise and visits. The need of the hour is to change the nature of deployment. All choke points and sea lanes are now under 24/7 surveillance. They are now institutionalized deployments.”
The deployments of ships under new mission will be made along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points from Malacca straits to the Persian Gulf, “These ships are deployed always ready to meet any eventuality across the spectrum of operations ranging from acts of maritime terrorism and piracy to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions,” the officer added.
With the deployment of ships, if India were sitting at the three choke points, it will have better monitor at Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.