Indian Ocean : New playground for global confrontation

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Samar Rathi, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    PM Modi’s France visit: India to discuss sharing of coastal surveillance radars in the Indian Ocean

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    India and France are expected to firm up discussions on sharing of radars in the Indian Ocean as part of the strategic talks during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris next week.

    While India is setting up a grid of coastal surveillance radars in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) that will enable it to monitor, among other things, the increasing Chinese presence in the area, France has expressed interest in sharing data from surveillance systems on its Indian Ocean territories, it is learnt.

    As part of bilateral discussions during the PM’s visit, the modalities of sharing maritimedomain awareness data from at least three French monitoring sites in the Indian Ocean is set to be on the agenda. French territories in the region include the Reunion Islands and Mayotte, besides military bases in UAE and Djibouti.

    It is learnt that the Indian Navy is keen on the French proposal and has recommended that it be added to an ambitious plan to set up a 24-nation radar grid in IOR to monitor all traffic – civilian and military. The 24 nation plan – which is currently pending a formal clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security – looks at integrating radars from most littorals of the region with the Indian coastal radar chain.

    As part of the plan, India could also lend financial aid to littoral nations for setting up radars. In the future, surveillance data from other military sites, including the American base at Diego Garcia, could be integrated.

    As reported by ET, a Rs 600-crore project to set up a Coastal Surveillance Radar Systemin the Indian Ocean is underway as part of New Delhi’s plans to increase maritime domain awareness in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

    While coastal surveillance radars have been set up in Sri Lanka (6), Mauritius (8) andSeychelles (1), ten radars that have to come up in Maldives have hit a block due to political uncertainty that led to the cancellation of Modi’s visit to Male last month.

    The moves come even as China has turned more active in IOR and has been attempting to expand its footprints in India’s extended neighbourhood as part of the grand Maritime Silk Route launched last year, according to experts. Besides Beijing wants to safeguard the sea lanes of communication through which its trade passes amid growing incidents of piracy along Africa’s eastern coast. Seychelles has been viewed by China as a possible replenishment port for navy ships taking part in anti-piracy operations in the region.

    PM Modi’s France visit: India to discuss sharing of coastal surveillance radars in the Indian Ocean | idrw.org
     
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  3. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    The coming nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean

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    While the world focuses on the dangers that a nuclear-armed Iran could present in the Middle East, a potentially more dangerous and unstable nuclear proliferation is occurring in the Indian Ocean.

    In the coming years India, Pakistan, and perhaps China will likely deploy a significant number of nuclear weapons at sea in the Indian Ocean. This could further destabilise already unstable nuclear relationships, creating a real risk of a sea-based exchange of nuclear weapons.

    Observers have long seen India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry as the most unstable in the world, and South Asia as the most likely location of nuclear conflict. This is not just academic speculation. Foreign diplomats have been evacuated from Islamabad on several occasions from fears of an impending nuclear exchange with India.

    India has a ‘no first use’ (NFU) nuclear-weapons policy of sorts, although it is increasingly subject to caveats and exceptions. But Islamabad refuses to adopt an NFU policy and indeed has announced a long list of actions that it claims would justify a nuclear response against India. Pakistan is also busy miniaturising its nuclear weapons for tactical use, thus reducing the threshold for Pakistani nuclear action.

    Importantly, Pakistan sees its nuclear arsenal not only as a deterrent but also as an enabler, providing an umbrella under which it can sponsor sub-conventional attacks against India. In the face of terrorist attacks such as those in Mumbai in 2008, Delhi has found its options constrained by concerns about a possible Pakistani nuclear response. But few are confident that India’s restraint can be maintained in the face of another serious cross-border attack that is proved to have been sponsored by Pakistan.

    Both India and Pakistan are now in the process of moving their nuclear weapons capabilities into the maritime realm.

    India is the furthest down this track, having launched its first indigenous nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine INS Arihant in 2009 (expected to be commissioned this year); it is also in the process of building two more so-called SSBNs. Further, India is developing nuclear-tipped Dhanush short range ballistic missiles fordeployment on offshore patrol vessels. India has leased a nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarine and has plans toconstruct up to six more SSNs (unlike SSBNs, SSNs are not armed with nuclear ballistic missiles). Pakistan is following India’s lead, having recently established a Naval Strategic Force Command Headquarters with the declared intention of developing a sea-based deterrent. This may involve nuclear-armed conventional submarines supplied by China, rather than SSBNs.

    Some nuclear weapons states have created a nuclear ‘triad’ in order to have an assured second strike capability. While such an assured capability can help stabilise a nuclear relationship, according to a recent Carnegie report, taking the India-Pakistan nuclear dynamic into the maritime realm may in fact create greater instability.

    One issue is an ambiguous mix of conventional and nuclear capabilities at sea, including the deployment of nuclear missiles on Pakistani conventional submarines and on Indian missile boats. Uncertainty over whether a platform is carrying nuclear weapons creates a risk of an inadvertent but highly escalatory attack on an opponent’s nuclear capability. Another concern is that maritime nuclear capabilities could lower Pakistan’s already low nuclear threshold. Islamabad may be tempted to conduct a demonstration nuclear attack at sea, believing it will not be escalated on land. A further problem is Pakistan’s reported propensity to delegate nuclear authority to field commanders, which could create considerable risks if submarine communications are interrupted.

    China is also a major player in the nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean. China’s role in creating a nuclear-armed Pakistan is a big factor in the distrust that characterises the India-China security relationship. In the 1980s, China supplied Pakistan with weapon plans along with fissile material, and facilitated the supply of missile technology. Any further moves by China to develop Pakistan’s maritime nuclear capability will only cement India’s threat perceptions about China.

    The India-China nuclear relationship is itself relatively unstable and is now also moving into the Indian Ocean. This is because India’s land-based nuclear deterrent currently suffers from considerable geographical and technological disadvantages compared with China. China is able to deploy its nuclear missiles in sparsely populated territory close to India’s border, providing it with nuclear missile coverage of the entire subcontinent. In comparison, India fields much shorter range missiles that can barely reach major population centres in eastern China.

    This gives India good reason to establish an assured second strike capability on SSBNs that could potentially be forward deployed into the western Pacific. Alternatively, India may deploy its SSBNs in a well-protected ‘bastion’ in the Bay of Bengal, although this may require further development of Indian missile technology.

    There have been increasing detections of Chinese SSNs in the Indian Ocean in recent years, including the deployment of a Chinese SSN to the western Indian Ocean between last December and February, nominally as part of its anti-piracy deployment. According to Indian sources, these deployments are part of hydrographic ‘profiling’ of the region and will likely increase in frequency. But Beijing has less reason to deploy its SSBNs in the Indian Ocean; instead, they will likely be primarily deployed in the western Pacific, targeted at the US. This could create its own risks: the detection of an unusual transit of a Chinese SSBN into the Indian Ocean or an Indian SSBN into the Pacific could be seen as an escalation at times of tension.

    The US also has a potentially significant role in facilitating nuclear stability in the Indian Ocean. In the 1980s, Washington helped construct India’s only facility for communications with submerged nuclear submarines and the US might again support India’s maritime nuclear capabilities. It might even be in Washington’s interests to help Pakistan. The establishment of reliable communications links with Pakistan’s nuclear-armed submarines could, for example, be critical in stabilising the India-Pakistan nuclear dynamic.

    Despite concerns about superpower competition in the Indian Ocean during the latter half of the Cold War, there was relatively little nuclear competition in that theatre. The three-party nuclear rivalry we will soon see in the Indian Ocean is likely to be more unstable, and potentially far more dangerous.

    The coming nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean | idrw.org
     
  4. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    L&T bags Rs. 1,432 cr defence order

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    Larsen & Toubro today said it has bagged a contract worth Rs. 1,432 crore from the Defence Ministry for design and construction of seven offshore patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard.

    Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) under the project are long range surface ships, capable of operation in maritime zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operational capabilities.

    Their roles include coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones of India, control and surveillance, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy with limited wartime roles.

    “In keeping with the government’s ‘Make in India’ focus, complete design and engineering of OPVs is planned to be undertaken in-house at L&T’s Warship Design Centre,” Larsen & Toubro (L&T) said in a filing to BSE.

    The first OPV under the project is scheduled to be delivered within 36 months from the signing of the contract.

    Subsequently, OPVs will be delivered at six month interval, it said.

    L&T is already executing Defence Ministry’s contracts for design and construction of 54 fast interceptor boats (IBs) for the Indian Coast Guard. 25 IBs have already been delivered so far. The company is targeting to complete delivery of all boats far ahead of schedule.

    L&T bags Rs. 1,432 cr defence order | idrw.org
     
  5. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    China looks to up ‘soft control’ of Myanmar: report

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    China must increase its “soft control” of Myanmar to fulfill its dream of building a new Pacific Fleet and an Indian Ocean Fleet, according to a commentary from the Beijing-based Sina Military.

    According to China’s state broadcaster CCTV, the 14th Army Corps of the People’s Liberation Army recently began a large-scale military exercise in the western region of southwest China’s Yunnan province, near the China-Myanmar border. The exercise comes amid increasing tensions between the two countries due to the escalating violence between the Myanmar government and ethnic rebel forces, which has already spilled into China after a stray shell flattened a house and a wayward bomb killed four Yunnan farmers earlier this month.

    Sina Military believes Beijing is sending a message to Naypyidaw — which began a renewed assault on the rebels’ Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army in the self-administered Kokang region on March 27 — through the exercise and also by leaking reports that it is tightening border restrictions and placing artillery units and air defense troops on standby.

    For China, increasing its long-term “soft control” of Myanmar is important for both economic and military reasons. Unlike neighbors such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and Bhutan, Myanmar offers a key route to the Indian Ocean, which is why China aims to eventually rent land from Myanmar to build a PLA naval base there, the report added.

    To this end, China needs to develop some kind of military alliance with Myanmar, perhaps beginning with assistance in non-military aid missions, Sina Military said. China also needs to speed up the development of oil and gas pipelines between the two countries so that it can become Myanmar’s largest oil industry partner. Additionally, China should boost its investment in Myanmar’s transport, port development, urban infrastructure development, medical, telecommunications and energy sectors so that the people of Myanmar can sense the positive benefits of increased Chinese influence, the report added.

    If China can secure a permanent port to the Indian Ocean in Myanmar in the future, the PLA Navy’s “far sea fleet” can be split into a Pacific Fleet and an Indian Ocean Fleet, the report said. The Pacific Fleet will be in charge of the first island chain — a line through the Kurile Islands, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia — and the second island chain — a north-south line from the Kuriles through Japan, the Bonins, the Marianas, the Carolines, and Indonesia. The Indian Ocean Fleet will be responsible for the region from the Strait of Malacca in the South China Sea through to the north Indian Ocean. The operational regions of the two fleets can use the south of Taiwan and the Philippines as a boundary, with each being able to cross over to assist the other when necessary, the report added.
     
  6. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    Rise of India’s Nuclear Submarine fleet

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    Nuclear-powered submarine on Lease from Russia “INS Chakra ” might be Sole operational Nuclear submarine in Indian Navies fleet in 2015, but Indian government and Indian navy have drafted impressive fleet expansion plan with key focus area been induction of more Nuclear-propelled submarines in next 15 years.

    In 1999 Cabinet Committee on Security, (CCS) had approved 30-year submarine-building plan, which envisaged induction of 12 new submarines by 2012, followed by another dozen by 2030. Delays in construction of submarines in Project-75 and delays in getting approvals in setting up Project-75I means original deadline will be missed by a mile and development of Nuclear technology in house means focus too has shifted from acquiring conventional diesel submarines to nuclear powered ones .

    Arihant Class (3+2)

    INS Arihant India’s first indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine (SSBN) is already conducting Sea trials and will soon be ready for testing of weapons which will include K-15 and K-4 Ballistic missiles and will officially join Indian navy by end of 2016 . Second submarine (INS Aridhaman ) or S-3 is already in advanced stages of fabrication and likely will be launched by year end. Last Submarine dubbed S-4 too is under construction and will be ready by 2018 for Sea Trails. 3 Arihant Sister class of ships will complete first leg of Nuclear triad. There is also strong Indication that 2 more follow-up order of Arihant class ships will be built , 2 Ships will be similar to Arihant but will have improved Weapons systems and will be first Submarine able to carry new class of SLBM which will be K-5 SLBM with range of more then 5000km still under development .

    New SSN (6)

    Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) last year also cleared construction of 6 new nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarine (SSN) to be undertaken at the secretive ship-building center (SBC) at Vizag. New SSN Subs will be similar to Arihant class in Size but will be heavy influenced by Akula-2 technology and Indian Navy and DRDO are working closely in studying and improving Stealth aspect of the yet to be constructed submarines. According to Ex Naval officers, Submarine will take 8-9 years before roll out can happen of new submarines and in next two years design will be finalised and a parallel production line will be setup. SSN will be armed with BrahMos-NG which can be Tube-launched and also carry Naval variant of Nirbhay Cruise missiles.

    New SSBN (5)

    After completion of Arihant Class SSBN, India is committed to further develop bigger next generation SSBN class of submarines which will be able to carry much more Weapons and crew. According to Naval officers, New SSBN will be double the size of Arihant Class submarines and will be able to carry twice the amount of weapons . construction of which will begin in 2023 on wards when last of Arihant class Submarine is delivered to India navy . Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is yet to clear such Proposal, but it will likely happen sometime in next three years.

    Second Akula-II-class submarine

    Russia has agreed to lease Second K-322 Kashalot aka Akula-II-class submarine which according to reports will be delivered to India by 2018, India already has inducted INS Chakra-II in 2012 and this will be Second Nuclear submarine leased from Russia .

    New Core Reactor

    BARC has started working on New high powered Pressurized water reactors (PWRs) according to BARC Scientist new reactor will be 50% more powerful than 83 MW reactor used on Arihant. BARC want to use it on larger SSBN which will be follow-up on Arihant class and which will require more power since it will bigger platform. Navy also wants bigger PWR for New SSN class of submarines which according to navy requirements will see 100% jump in additional power requirements compared to one used in Arihant class. BARC still not clarified which Pressurized water reactors (PWRs) are in development or different Parallel development are been carried out of PWR for SSBN and SSN.

    Rise of India’s Nuclear Submarine fleet | idrw.org
     
  7. indiandefencefan

    indiandefencefan Regular Member

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    China still has to resolve their problems in their immediate neighborhood before they can tackle the indian ocean in full earnest and it is not anytime soon that pakistan will able to minituarise their nukes effectively enough to fit it on missiles based on subs or ships.The IOR is stable for now atleast but no one can say about the coming future.

    the navy must have a contingency plan prepared for this scenario.... pakistan we can deal with but we cannot be so sure about china if they seek for influence in the IOR.
     
  8. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    Yes china can't influence Indian ocean in greater extent until they control SCS so we have to make sure they don't at the time there is G4 meetings going on to address how to tackle those problems ( G4 - India ,USA , Japan and Australia )

    However we have prepare for the worst as there so called maritime silk road plan is savvy

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    We have to prepare for the worst.
     
  9. indiandefencefan

    indiandefencefan Regular Member

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    Agreed .... and i sincerely hope that the govt puts time and effort into project mausam designed to be a counterbalance to this very maritime silk road.

    The silk road project just took a big blow as a $25 billion port being built in sri lanka was put on hold due to charges of corruption also i have also read about a lot of local opposition to the Gwadar port being built by the chinese in pakistan. With the latest incident of myanmarese jets accidentaly bombing chinese population centers.... the plans for a port in myanmar too looks bleak.:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  10. Samar Rathi

    Samar Rathi Regular Member

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    Yes Project Mausam is counterbalance to Chinese maritime silk route so good start from this government but hambantota project is resumed from what i heard and gwadar is bleak due to balouch insurgency and ongoing civil war in Pakistan however Myanmar is right on path after hitting some road block.
     
  11. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    Once India's Juggernaut starts rolling most of the issues in S.Asia and IOR close to India will be solved.
     

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