Express News Service
NEW DELHI: "While China is expanding its presence around India, Pakistan in the West has continued with the modernisation of the Navy," said Admiral R Hari Kumar here on Tuesday. Elaborating on “Security Challenges” that India faces, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) pointed out that while competition is being played out on a daily basis – at times testing limits – but without escalating into armed action, a war with potential adversaries can never be ruled out.
In this regard, “China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence, not only along our land borders but also in the maritime domain by leveraging anti-piracy operations to normalise its naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region.”
To the West, Pakistan, despite economic constraints, has continued its military modernisation, especially its Navy, which is on track to becoming a 50-platform force, added CNS.
The CNS specified that China began its Indian Ocean maritime deployment in 2008 using anti-piracy operations “as the reason” and since then there has been a continuous presence in the region. “At any point we have anything between 5-8 Chinese Navy units, be it warships or research vessels and a host of Chinese fishing vessels operating in the IOR. We keep a watch on them and see how they are undertaking their activities in the IOR,” he said.
While “China now has a base in Djibouti, and have been involved in development of various ports in the IOR, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan and so many other countries, the Navy Chief said, India is also building its capability but it is “not based on a nation, it is based upon our requirements to protect, preserve and promote our national interests.”
With the structuring of our force and developing the capability, “these get factored and enable us to keep the Indian Ocean under surveillance. We have aircraft sorties, ships deployed almost 24X7 to keep an eye on the IOR, Adm Kumar said.
Chief of Naval Staff was delivering the Keynote Address for the plenary session on India’s Naval Revolution: Becoming an Ocean Power at the 49th National Management Convention, All India Management Association. He also talked about the reliability of the weapons of Russian origin and its assistance in the technological realm.
Talking about the Russian equipment, he said they are reliable and while there have been teething issues with some of the systems; they have been getting good support from Russia.
Russia supported us with some technologies which we are not able to get from any other sources, Adm Kumar said, “In that sense, we have really been receiving good support from Russia over the years.”
While the conventional military challenges persist, CNS pointed towards terrorism which “remains a major security threat, as it continues to evolve in shape, scale and size.” Staying one step ahead of such an invisible enemy, who will constantly innovate tactics, enabled by niche technologies, is a challenge that persists.