Why naval commanders’ meet is significant: 5 reasons
The 3-day conference comes amid border tension with China.Updated: Aug 19, 2020, 11:46 IST
India’s top naval commanders will discuss important operational issues during a three-day conference in New Delhi beginning today, amid the ongoing border tensions with China in eastern Ladakh. The navy has been on an operational alert in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) where scores of warships are ready for any task in the aftermath of the border row.
While the Indian Navy is keeping a sharp eye on the IOR, it is also playing a key role in the Ladakh sector. Its P-8I maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, imported from the US, are being used for surveillance of the Ladakh sector and gathering intelligence on Chinese deployments across the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Here are five reasons why the conference is significant:
• It comes at a time when the navy has stepped up surveillance and activities in the IOR, which, it believes, China will inevitably try to enter in its quest to become a global power, just as it has laid claim to large portions of the disputed South China Sea.
• The conference will provide the naval leadership a forum to discuss issues related to operations and the scenario in the IOR where the Chinese navy has been trying to expand its footprint.
• India is keeping tabs on China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea and taking steps to ensure that the Chinese navy doesn’t muscle its way into the Indian Ocean where combat-ready Indian warships are carrying out round-the-clock surveillance for any unusual activity.
• The stage is also set for Australia to be part of the next Malabar naval exercise conducted by India with the United States and Japan. The next edition of Malabar, already delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to be held by the end of the year. Australia’s participation could be discussed at the conference.
• The conference also comes at a time when self reliance in the defence sector is a top priority for the government. Several of the 101 defence items in the negative import list, released on August 9, include naval weapons and systems, including conventional submarines and ship-borne cruise missiles. The navy will be steering one of the costliest ‘Make in India’ programmes to build six next-generation submarines in the country.