new port has strategic implications for India: Mehta
Jan 22: The Gwadar port being built by Pakistan with Chinese
assistance in its Baluchistan coast has "serious strategic
implications for India", Naval Chief, Admiral Sureesh
Mehta has said.
only 180 nautical miles from the exit of the Straits of Hormuz,
Gwadar, being bulit in Baluchistan coast, would enable Pakistan
take control over the world energy jugular and interdiction
of Indian tankers," he said delivering T S Narayanaswamy
Memorial lecture here last night.
challenge for India was to balance relations with China in
such a manner that competition for strategic significance
of space in the Indian Ocean leads to cooperation rather than
conflict, he said.
pressure for countries to cooperate in the maritime military
domain to ensure smooth flow of energy and commerce on the
high seas will grow even further," he said speaking on
"Oceanic Influence on India's Development in the next
about "Chinese designs on the Indian Ocean," Mehta
said China had a strategy called `String of Pearls,' as per
which it seeks to set up bases and outposts across the globe,
strategically located along its energy lines, to monitor and
saefeguard energy flows. "Each pearl in the string is
a link in a chain of the Chinese maritime presence,"
other locations, the string moves Northwards upto Gwadar deep
sea port on Pakistan's Makran coast. A highway is under construction
joining Gwadar with Karachi and there are plans to connect
the port with the Karakoram Highway, thus providing China
a gateway to Arabian Sea," he said adding that this could
pose a problem for India.
India, as a regional power with a dominant position in the
Indian Ocean Region (IOR), "must take the lead in initiating
collaborative frameworks in the maritime arena," Mehta
that oceanic influence on India's foreign policy would grow
in the next decade, he also said that the Navy wanted a single
coordinating policy making apex body, which would "meet
the challenges of the future."
Naval headquarters is of the view that a Maritime Security
Board should be created, which will coordinate with 14 different
government departments and agencies repsonsible for maritime
affairs," he said.
concerns over the shipbuilding industry in the country, he
said it was "very small by present global standards."
nation can aspire for great power status by only buying ships....
We have to build them. Despite orders of 32 warships and six
submarines with Defence shipyards, their capacity and capability
to build ships are just not enough to meet our force accretion
plans," he said.
Navy would play its part in any government initiative to enhance
indigenous warship construction capacity, he said.
with the audience,Mehta said the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal
Project was a "viable one, but may not be useful to big
ships running on the international routes."