India ensures no one exercises hegemony in Indian Ocean Region: Rajnath Singh | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India ensures no one exercises hegemony in Indian Ocean Region: Rajnath Singh

ByGerard de Souza
Mar 05, 2024 06:16 PM IST

Rajnath Singh also spoke about the shift in dealing with the threat perception, saying maritime threats were not previously given as much importance

PANAJI: The Indian Navy is ensuring that no country, with its overwhelming economic and military power, was able to assert dominance over friendly countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) or threaten their sovereignty, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh said India is ensuring that all the neighbouring countries of the Indian Ocean should be helped in protecting their autonomy and sovereignty (ANI)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh said India is ensuring that all the neighbouring countries of the Indian Ocean should be helped in protecting their autonomy and sovereignty (ANI)

The defence minister underlined that India is fulfilling its responsibility in the Indian Ocean Region by providing full assistance to the littoral countries.

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“In the Indian Ocean Region, we have ensured that the rules-based maritime order is strengthened. India is ensuring that all the neighbouring countries of the Indian Ocean should be helped in protecting their autonomy and sovereignty. We have ensured that no one exercises hegemony in the region,” Singh said at an event to formally open the new Administrative and Training building at the Naval War College (NWC) in Goa.

The minister also highlighted the shift in dealing with the threat perception. “Earlier, almost all the governments focused on strengthening land borders, but maritime threats were not given as much importance. In view of the increased movement of our adversaries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the commercial importance of the region, it was necessary to re-assess our threat perception and accordingly re-balance our military resources & strategic attention,” he said, adding that India had not only re-imagined India’s role in the IOR but also strengthened it. “Due to these efforts, India has today emerged as the first responder and preferred security partner in the IOR,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the events, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar described the activities in the Red Sea as an offshoot of the Israel-Hamas conflict and said Houthis were targeting merchant ships belonging to either Israel, the US or the UK in the Red Sea with drones and missiles.

“Indian Navy is supporting all merchant ships in their to and fro journey between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean Region. Primarily, we are looking at the India-flagged vessels but also assisting any ship that seeks our help.

“So this is an example where conflict in one part of the world is spilling over to another part and also of asymmetric forces. The asymmetry is quite evident between the cost of attack and the cost of defence because the cost of a drone and some other things is mostly very cheap. Maybe a few lakh, 20-25 lakh, while the cost of a missile to shoot it down this branch into crores,” he said.

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