IDF Analysis of how India’s rising Navy has gained operational experience and exposure to update ATP1 and ANSB from multi lateral and bi-lateral exercises, and built warships in India including a nuclear submarine Arihant and is attempting an aircraft carrier by 2018, epitome of naval construction. Lucky Indians, we are !
Order book is 50 ships in Indian shipyards saving FFE. MOD’s Capital budgets are under inter service pressure with no joint planning or CDS, and rising OROP revenue budgets. In Lok Sabha, RM confessed, “the budgetary provision of Rs 69,898.51 crore for 2016-17 for the Defence Services Estimates is 27.45 per cent less than projected requirements Rs 96,343.03” IDF hopes Finmin does not curtail exercises and tempo of the Navy on costs, like it does to reduce deficit and MOD invariably plays ball.
The Navy’s exercise calendar includes 20 Malabars with USA and now Japan, 19 Simbexes annually with Singapore, Varuna with France, Indra with Russia, Konkan with UK, Slinex with Sri Lanka, IBSAMAR with South Africa and Brazil, Jimex with Japan, AUSINDEX with Australia and with Indonesia since 2015. Its rich operational exposure !
China has refused to obey the PCA verdict on the South China Sea (SCS) and knows PM Modi has an Indian Ocean policy as far as Assumption island with BEL there. India and its Navy are a force to reckon with, not in quantity which PLA (N) has with an economy five times, but in naval quality. Hence IDF asks does MOD appreciate it ? No one is acting on long term plans. India sent a modern Indian made Fleet to ‘Premier Exercises’ with 40 year old non combat helicopters. Accidents are blamed on a Chief, and MOD or bureaucrat take any blame. The CAG report picks holes as he knows old files in MOD and Navy’s smartness to navigate MOD.
India has a long unresolved border with China which has new home made excellent boats in Pongsam Lake to replace Tampa US Army boats to claim more there increasing connectivity. Navy needs to be employed like in Wullar. Government/NSA must be taking stock of China’s economic and military growth and aggressive postures and processing a strategy to meet it with Diplomacy and show of deterrent force and preparations. No one wants even a skirmish in a nuclear arena. World is already in turmoil and economic down turn.
China has challenges coming up in heaps. Sri Lanka and unstable Pakistan who have taken loans and are now un repayable. CEPC through POK is illegal and is seeing opposition by locals. It will not be easy and China has bought Gwadar to ease debt its game. China’s savings in US are on paper and OBOR without India is challenging. It is worried on SCS and wants talks. All good, and India’s support could matter.
IDF served with missions abroad and hope our Diplomats, most are very bright with domain expertise are consulted in policy decisions. It seems PMO/ NSA and FS are lynch pins, at times rushing with decisions like 36 Rafales awaited ! This notion must be dispelled.
Former Diplomat K Shankar Bajpai son of eminent Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai KCSI KBE CIE , has dissected Pakistan and in passing China, writes we may be ‘Living in a Glass House’ in IE Ideas on 5th Aug, “ That is our biggest problem: How to reinstate the efficiency that is essential for national security? The messy pressures of politics plus a dysfunctional state apparatus practically invite interference”. Bajpai’s sane voice needs harking.
India views China’s naval forays in to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) with stealth submarines, and supply of arms to Pakistan on friendship terms to counter India, and signing a $ 46 bill China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) through India’s Kashmir an area illegally occupied by Pakistan as threatening.
China has discarded Deng Xiaoping’s strategy to ‘hide your capacity and bide your time’ and feels its time has come with an ‘Active Defence’ strategy and defies UNCLOS. It is the China challenge with India’s Navy strength that emboldened PM Modi to take on China and sign the bold, ‘US-India Joint Strategic Vision For The Asia-Pacific And Indian Ocean Region’, with President Obama’s on 25th Jan2014 without hesitation. Navy must have been consulted. It may need to deploy with USN for deterrence with JSDF.
OPERATIONAL EXPOSURE TO MALABAR AND RIMPAC- OPERATIONALLY INVALUABLE
In 1998, after three bilateral Malabars USA imposed sanctions, and suspended exercises when India tested nuclear weapons as a NPT and non NSG member. Sanctions were lifted after 9/11 -2001 attacks in New York when Navy’s warships patrolled the Malacca Straits to safe guard US merchant shipping in Op Sagittarius, braving the ire of Malaysia which termed the repeated patrolling as non-innocent passages quoting UNCLOS-1982.
Navy’s support made USA lift sanctions and Malabars were renewed, co-operation followed with $ 14 Bill in purchases. In 1999 Navy helped get Pakistan vacate the Kargil heights, but never got the pat it deserved.
Navy acquired amphibious 8,500 ton transport LPD USS Trenton on Foreign Military Sales (FMS) terms with six Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters in 2005 for paltry US$90 million, as INS Jalashwa for Eastern Naval Command (ENC) at Vishakapatnam. ENC has gained traction in India’s ‘Act East Policy’. Navy’s nuclear submarines, the Akula INS Chakra and home built Arihant awaiting commissioning with K-15/B-05 750 km nuclear tipped missiles and MiG-29Ks are been based at Vishakapatnam and a new base at Bimli and another South IDF reported, as INS Karna and Varsha. Navy hosted a grand IFR there in February 2016.
Advanced 20th Ex Malabar with USN and JSDF forces was held in the volatile Philippines Sea in June, shedding ‘Hesitations of the Past’. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had expressed, “to help India become a major world power in the 21st century,” in 2005, and President Obama exclaimed, “India is not just a rising power, it has already risen, ” in 2010. It can be reality if we BJP plays correct maritime and other cards, and mellows RSS and affiliates views.
In MALABAR U.S Navy fielded the Carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) with F-18s and MH-60R helicopters with 90 Air Wing 9 planes, with guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay, Stockdale, William P. Lawrence and Chung-Hoon with Standard RM66 and Harpoon missiles Mk 84 and Mk 54 Torpedoes and ASROC anti submarine weapons. A US Navy P-8A Poseidon Boeing 737 Mk capable of firing Mk 84 Harpoons and Mk 54 torpedoes in the Maritime Reconnaissance(MR) role exercised.
India’s eight P8i MR planes that operate from INS Rajali have similar fits. A Los Angeles-class nuclear powered submarine provided excellent CASEX training opportunities. India has ordered four more P-8i for $ 1.1 bill. The exposure was of vital importance for interoperability of both navies, one of the objectives of Ex Malabar.
India’s indigenously designed and built 6,000 ton stealth Type 17 Klub firing guided missile frigates INS Sahyadri and INS Satpura with Barak anti air missiles, and the Fincanteiri built modern tanker INS Shakti, and 1,350 ton INS Kirch, with Uran missiles participated. The JMSDF the host at Saebo sent 20,000 ton helicopter carrier JS Hyuga, with SH-60K integral helicopters and a Long Range P3C Orion Maritime Patrol aircraft.
Thereafter INS Satpura took part in RIMPAC for one month in July in and around the Hawaiian islands and Southern California till 4th Aug . 26 nations, 45 ships, five submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) world’s largest international maritime exercise from June 30 to Aug. The theme of RIMPAC 2016 was “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.”
In both exercises realistic training program included amphibious, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive disposal and diving and salvage operations.
This year’s exercise included major navies like Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Singapore, Thailand, UK and the United States, in knows. This was Navy’s second and the first year for amphibious operations in the Southern California, a harpoon missile firing from a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship and highlight fleet innovation during the Trident Warrior experimentation.USN VADM Nora Tyson, Cdr . 3rd Fleet (C3F), served as the Combined Task Force (CTF) commander. Canada’s Radm Scott Bishop, as Deputy CTF, and Japan’s Radm Koji Manabe as Vice commander. Other Leaders of the multinational force were Commodore Malcolm Wise Australian Navy, for the maritime component; Canada’s Brig. Gen Blaise Frawley of Air Force, commended air components for the amphibious task force led by Royal New Zealand Navy Commodore James Gilmour.
What other message can India’s Navy send to China but public must be told. Pass this on. Shan No Varuna.