Indian Navy - projecting
a force beyond borders
By Ritu Sharma
Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) The Indian Navy's "proactive"
move against Somali pirates in the strategic Gulf of Aden
marks a significant step in New Delhi's aspirations of projecting
its force beyond its borders and translating its growing economic
and military strength into political clout, says officials
Navy's widely appreciated combat move has come at a time when
the International Maritime Bureau termed the situation in
the important sea lane that controls a lot of the world's
energy levels “out of control” and major military nations
are the best tools to showcase a nation's might and to send
a message globally. Indian Navy has been keen to take more
responsibility in the Gulf of Aden to boost its credentials
as a maritime force to reckon with in the region,” a senior
navy official told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Navy's INS Tabar Tuesday sank a pirate vessel in a retaliatory
fire while patrolling the piracy-infested Gulf of Aden, about
1,800 miles/2,880 km from its home port of Mumbai.
incident has clearly underscored the point that the Indian
Navy has capability to project force beyond its border. We
have to take a proactive role in security of the Gulf of Aden
as it controls access to the Suez Canal and is a vital route
for energy supply to India,” the official added.
opinion has been echoed by military experts.
robust response by INS Tabar off the Gulf of Aden has reiterated
the credibility of the Indian Navy in strategic water ways.
This is a reflection of India's transborder military capability
and its ability to maintain a naval 'presence' to deal with
any low intensity maritime challenges that may arise,"
former Director of Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses
(IDSA) C. Uday Bhaskar told IANS.
is the second time the 55,000-strong Indian Navy, the fifth
largest naval force in the world, is playing a significant
role in the region. In 1992, as part of the United Nation's
multinational force under “Operation Restore Hope”, it has
constantly undertaken surveillance and patrolling off civil
war- ravaged Somalia coast.
a paradigm shift in the power projection of the Indian Navy
from a regional force guarding its 5514 km coastline, the
Indian Navy is now assuming greater role to place itself as
a global force.
pursuit of its goal the Indian Navy is acquiring the bigger
symbols of potent maritime force - aircraft carriers and nuclear
the next decade Indian Navy will commission Russian built
Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, and two indigenous
aircraft carriers. The navy will also be completing its nuclear
triad with the acquisition of nuclear submarines - one Russian
built Akula and three constructed within the country under
its ambitious Advanced Technology Vessel project.
Indian Navy, which was quick to respond to President Gayoom's
request in the wake of an apprehension of a coup in Maldives
in 1988, has come of age.
When tsunami struck in December 2004, although India suffered
over 15,000 deaths and vast destruction, the Indian Navy was
the first navy to rush aid to the Maldives as well as to Sri
Lanka and Indonesia which were the worst hit.
1,000 Indian relief personnel and five naval ships were sent
to Trincomalee, Galle and Colombo ports in Sri Lanka, with
medical teams and immediate relief material.
fact that India could deploy its navy within 24 hours of the
tsunami created ripples in the world, including in Washington,”
pointed out Bhaskar.
then the Indian Navy has been gradually increasing the scope
of its operations. During the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006
the Indian Navy sent warships to evacuate 2,280 persons, including
May this year, as Cyclone Nargis battered neighbouring Myanmar
leaving thousands dead, the Indian Navy was the first to send
projection today every nation is doing," Lt.Gen (retd.)
Raj Kadyan, a strategic expert, told IANS. "India is
now in a position to project its power and earn goodwill,
though this event is not related to any entry into the Security
Council yet, its part of a larger scheme of things."