Indian Navy : Choppy Seas

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Sea Eagle, May 19, 2014.

  1. Sea Eagle

    Sea Eagle Senior Member Senior Member

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    A recent spate of accidents involving the Indian Navy has raised a lot of uncomfortable questions not only regarding the quality of its naval assets, but also whether standard operating procedures (SOPs) were followed.
    Earlier this year, in February, the Indian Naval chief Adm. DK Joshi handed in his papers owning moral responsibility after two sailors were killed in a fire on board the INS Sindhuratna, a Russian origin Kilo-class submarine. Adm. Joshi’s continuance in office was made untenable since the string of mishaps in the last couple of months.
    Last August, 18 sailors perished after an explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak, another Russian-made Kilo-class submarine.
    The Indian Navy’s woes were further compounded when the chief of the Western Naval Command Vice Adm. Shekhar Sinha resigned after his junior Adm. RK Dhowan was appointed as the new Naval chief superseding Sinha.
    Ironically, this comes at a time when the Indian Navy’s role has incrementally increased in the Indian-Ocean region and beyond and has made some big-ticket acquisitions. The Russian-origin carrier INS Vikramadityahas been formally inducted into the Indian Navy.
    Earlier, the Indian Navy had escorted US naval ships passing through the Indian Ocean as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and had played a key role in the relief and rescue efforts after the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. The commissioning of the tri-services command in the strategically-important Andaman and Nicobar islands in 2001 gives India an unprecedented reach in the Indian-Ocean region.

    The Indian Navy’s role has also increased incrementally given India’s growing profile on the international stage. It ensures the safety and security of the sea lines of communication in the Indian Ocean region and has been very successful in anti-piracy operations in the Indian-Ocean region.
    It is the only navy in the Indian-Ocean region that currently operates two aircraft carriers and is involved in a host of multilateral exercises like the Milan, Malabar, IndIndoCorpat (with Indonesia), etc.
    In addition, China is rapidly making inroads into the Indian Ocean region, traditionally seen as India’s backyard. China has already inducted its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning and has improved its relations with countries like Seychelles and Maldives.
    In addition, China has funded the construction of ports in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar-abutting India — in what has been termed by many scholars as China’s “String of Pearls”
    strategy.
    On the other hand, the Indian Navy has been involved in joint naval exercises with Japan since 2012 and has offered Hanoi a credit line of US$100 million for it to buy patrol boats.
    On the contentious issue of China’s claims in the South China Sea, India has always supported freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and has urged all parties to resolve their disputes in accordance with the principles of the (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) UNCLOS.
    Last year, India launched its maiden indigenously-developed aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which is expected to enter service by 2017. In the same year, the reactor of India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine, the INS Arihant went critical.
    New Delhi is also in advanced negotiations for the purchase of the Japanese-made ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft. If this deal goes through, it will mean a turnaround for Japan too, since the Japanese constitution prevents it from exporting military hardware to other countries.
    So what could be possible solutions for the Indian Navy to overcome its current rough patch?
    First, the civilian bureaucracy in India must speed up the process of procurement of new naval assets and ensure the regular availability of spares. Of late, the Navy’s requirements have got mired in red-tape, thereby, putting strain on the available resources.
    Second, indigenization needs to be sped up. For a Navy that aims to become one of the key players on the international arena, indigenization is not an option, but a necessity. Many key projects are running behind schedule. The government could also take the help of India’s private sector in some of these projects, instead of relying solely on government firms.
    Third, the Navy must ensure that standard operation proedures are followed under all circumstances. There should be no shortcuts when it comes to safety and officers need to be held accountable for any lapses. The resignation of the earlier Naval chief has hopefully set the right precedent.

    Finally, the new government which will be in place in New Delhi after the election results are announced will hopefully devote the required attention to the naval domain, to ensure that the Indian Navy, one of the finest and most professional navies worldwide, gets the attention and resources it deserves.

    Indian Navy: Choppy seas ahead | The Jakarta Post Vikramaditya
     
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