said the worrying trend in the Indian Ocean Region has been the proliferation
of violent non-state actors and networks at sea, which harbors numerous
challenges and demands a recalibrated outlook to collective Maritime Security,
Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff said on October 22.
the Galle Maritime dialogue, a Summit of the Maritime nations of the region
including China in Sri Lanka, the top Indian Naval officer said maritime piracy
and maritime terrorism are the two major ways in which non-state actors
threaten to jeopardize the security of the maritime domain, with a direct
influence on land affairs. The collective manner in which the World responded
to the piracy in Gulf of Aden bears testimony to the impact which we can have
when we join hands to curb the menace of these non-state actors. ,
reduction in piracy incidents gives us a suitable example of what collective
maritime security can achieve, thus embodying the true essence of collaborative
other threats and challenges in the maritime domain include drug running, arms
and human trafficking and indeed poaching and fishing in the deep sea areas,
which is a major threat and challenge in the waters around us. To counter any
of these threats is a challenging task because non-state actors which operate
these illegal activities have anonymity of identity and intent. They have
transnational links and patronage, and at times the money trails go across the
oceans and across various countries.
this intertwined nature of maritime security challenges in the IOR and the
critical need for developing collaborative maritime partnerships, the Indian
Navy has accorded a high degree of priority to maritime engagement with
regional partner states.
who attended the Galle Dialogue last year, would recall the very fruitful
discussions on the theme ‘Fostering Strategic Maritime Partnerships’. This
year’s theme ‘Synergising for Collaborative Maritime Management’ takes this
thought forward to a much broader canvas. This is truly indicative of a
progressive approach that Galle Dialogue has adopted to carry forward the
discussions in a result-oriented manner
India’s vision of
the Indian Ocean was echoed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks at
the BIMSTEC Summit, in which he highlighted the significance of Blue Economy on
the peace, growth and prosperity of the region.
countries in the region share the common vision of having our Ocean space free
of all forms of crime and violence. And in this quest for fuelling the growth
and well-being of the region, we as the maritime security providers of our
respective countries have a pivotal role to play. Because, only when there is
peace on the oceans, will the trade, commerce and all another associated
activities, which fuel our nation’s growth prosper.
Indo – Pacific region around us remains in a state of strategic dynamics. As
the geo-strategic environment evolves in the region, it is the ability of
countries to adapt to the emerging challenges that will decide the contours of
the resultant geo-economic and geo-political landscape.
as responsible global citizens, therefore, need to find ways to avoid
conflicts. One of the approaches to conflict avoidance is to make all
stakeholders equal participants in the development process.
Adding to the flux
and friction of numerous diverse, complex and multi-layered security
challenges, we are also witnessing the return of ‘great power politics’in the
region. One of the most important outcome of this ‘great power politics’ is the
growing relevance of regional balances and constellations. In this era, ‘Issue
based convergence’ seems to be the new norm, in order to balance converging and
The challenges to security in our region are
numerous and unique in their origin, intensity and complexity. The Indian
Navy’s initiatives such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium – IONS; and MILAN –
the biennial gathering of regional navies at Port Blair, have enabled
constructive dialogue amongst navies of the Indian Ocean Region.
year marks 10 years of IONS and it is indeed heartening to see that this
initiative has evolved into a maritime organization of the Indian Ocean Region
with potential to enhance cooperation in a grouping that otherwise seems too
unwieldy because of its intrinsic diversity.
mark the 10th anniversary of IONS, we have planned an elaborate bouquet of
commemorative activities in November this year at Kochi which will also include
a seminar and a tall ship regatta from Kochi to Muscat.
actively participates in numerous regional maritime exercises with our partner
states. In addition to bilateral maritime exercises with numerous countries in
the region, we also undertake Coordinated Patrols to safeguard our common
maritime boundaries with our maritime neighbors.
has also been providing assistance such as EEZ surveillance to other nations of
the region based on their request. India
– Sri Lanka maritime engagement has been one of the pillars of our bilateral
regional engagement. The very successful conduct of SLINEX – 2018 stands
testimony to the growing scope and depth of our maritime partnership.
In addition to our
cooperative engagement with partner states, we have also recalibrated our own
operational philosophy to meet the attendant security challenges. ‘Mission
Based Deployment’ is one step by the Indian Navy to demonstrate this resolve
and our Task Groups are deployed around the year across the length and breadth
of the Indian Ocean. Waters beyond the Indian Ocean are also frequented as part
of our international maritime engagements in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Their presence facilitates a high degree of strategic situational awareness and
a timely response should any contingency arise.
bridge this informational gap, the Indian Navy is assisting partner states by
setting-up a Coastal Radar Surveillance System and mutual sharing of shipping
information through a White Shipping Information Exchange agreement, which we
have already concluded with 18 countries thus far and are in the process of
expanding this further. The fused picture, available to all users as a result
of this agreement significantly enhances the Strategic Maritime Domain
Awareness of the region.
Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) of the Indian Navy has also
emerged as a virtual information hub for White Shipping Information in the
region. We are also in the process of setting-up an Information Fusion Centre
(IFC- IOR) to further our commitment towards achieving collective maritime
security in the IOR. We would also be inviting Liaison Officers from Friendly
Foreign Countries (FFCs) to be a part of this construct.
interoperability between the navies of the region should be one of our key priorities.
It is imperative to maintain a high degree of maritime cooperation,
particularly given the dynamic and diverse nature of challenges which the
region faces today. Common security
challenges, particularly large-scale environmental disasters would warrant us
to operate together under testing conditions and this enhanced interoperability
would play a huge role in such situations.
see a lot of scope and merit in enhancing the cooperation of the regional
navies to achieve a well-coordinated response to this ever increasing threat,
particularly given the fragile nature of our eco-systems and the burgeoning
challenges posed by climate change. Not
only has the IONS Working Group formulated guidelines in IOR, but we have also
conducted a table-top exercise at Visakhapatnam last month. The maiden conduct
of IMMSAREX last year, under the leadership of Bangladesh Navy, was the first
ever operational exercise and has opened the doors for IONS to graduate from an
academic platform to one with greater operational engagement. India remains
fully committed towards achieving this vision of a free, Open and inclusive
maritime space in the Indian Ocean Region, with complete adherence to
International law. The smooth settlement of India - Bangladesh maritime
boundary in accordance with an international judgment is a shining example of