Naval brass to discuss ways to strengthen ties with Indian Ocean regio

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    The naval top brass will congregate here next week to discuss measures to further bolster military cooperation with countries in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) in the backdrop of China's expanding strategic footprint in the region.

    The naval top brass will congregate here next week to discuss measures to further bolster military cooperation with countries in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) in the backdrop of China's expanding strategic footprint in the region.

    "The three-day naval commanders' conference, chaired by Admiral Robin Dhowan, will discuss foreign cooperation initiatives and engagements to strengthen ties with IOR littorals, as has been stressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi," said an officer.

    The conference, which will be inaugurated by finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, will dwell upon the Indian Navy's role to undertake "capacity-building" of the maritime forces of IOR countries. "Spanning 28 million sq km, the IOR is host to a third of the world's population, with a significant share of international trade passing through the sea lanes of the region," said the officer.

    The top naval leadership will also take up the "combat readiness" of their force, strengthening of coastal security, optimal utilization of funds and human resources development, among other issues.

    China's expanding maritime links with eastern Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia, among others, will however figure high on the agenda.

    A recent US pentagon report held the Chinese navy was expanding its operational and deployment areas further into the Pacific and IOR, though its efforts are facing logistical and intelligence hurdles as of now, as was earlier reported by TOI.

    "China desires to expand its access to logistics in IOR and will likely establish several access points in this area in the next 10 years. These arrangements will take the form of agreements for refueling, replenishment, crew rest and low-level maintenance," said the Pentagon.

    India, on its part, has been stepping up its own engagement with IOR countries to counter China's moves. Apart from military assistance and training, Indian warships and Dornier reconnaissance aircraft have been regularly helping countries like Maldives and Seychelles in maritime and anti-piracy patrols, surveillance and hydrographic surveys.
    Naval brass to discuss ways to strengthen ties with Indian Ocean region nations - The Times of India
     
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