IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 7th Jan

“Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” —Vaibhav Shah

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #304 :“Indian Maritime Security Strategy | UPSC

Indian Maritime Security Strategy | UPSC

Abhijit Singh
Indian Maritime Security Strategy | UPSC

Abhijit Singh is a retired naval officer and Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation

      HEADLINES:

Boosting India with maritime domain awareness

      CENTRAL THEME:

Beyond monitoring Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean, India’s initiatives could help generate intraregional synergy

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3 : Defence : Maritime strategy : Indian Navy : IOR(Indian Ocean Region)

      MAINS QUESTION:

In the modern maritime arena, war is a more complex proposition than in the olden days. ‘Foreknowledge’ is still critical.Comment -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

  • Nature of enemy at sea
  • Neighbourhood Synergies
  • The french connections
  • China watch
  • Way Forward

      INTRODUCTION: 

The legendary military theorist, Sun Tzu, is once said to have observed that the critical element in battle was foreknowledge.

  • As the great Chinese general saw it, foreknowledge could only be gathered with specialised tools and by men who knew the enemy well.
  • A prior reading of the adversary and the theatre of battle, the master tactician asserted, could decisively shift the balance of fortune in war.

      BODY: 

NATURE OF THE ENEMY AT SEA

  • FOREKNOWLEDGE OF OPEN SEA : In the modern maritime arena, war is a more complex proposition than in the days of Sun Tzu, but ‘foreknowledge’ is still critical.
  • UNDERCOVER THREATS : Today, the enemy at sea is often unrecognisable — a terrorist, a pirate, a criminal or a sea robber — an invisible presence that lurks behind regular actors such as fishermen and port workers.
  • VIGILANCE AND DATA SHARING : Law enforcement agencies today need to be a lot more vigilant, highly reliant on high-grade sensors and communication networks that observe and track suspicious movements, sharing information in real time.

Practitioners describe this state of enhanced consciousness as maritime domain awareness.

  • DOMAIN EXPERTISE : Of late, the Indian Navy has been on a drive to improve domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
  • EXPANDING SURVEILLANCE : The Navy is seeking to expand India’s surveillance footprint by setting up radar stations in the Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
  • COASTAL RADAR CHAIN : Mauritius, the Seychelles and Sri Lanka have already integrated into the wider coastal radar chain network.
  • PRIME FOCUS : The Indian Navy’s efforts seem focused primarily on monitoring Chinese activity in the Eastern Indian Ocean, particularly in the seas around the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Indian maritime planners have been wary of the possibility of a greater Chinese presence in the eastern littorals.

  • MARITIME ADVENTURISM : India’s P-8I aircraft have scoured the near-seas for People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarines, and Indian naval ships have patrolled the Andaman Seas and eastern chokepoints to deter any maritime adventurism by Beijing.

NEIGHBOURHOOD SYNERGIES

  • FRIENDLY NAVIES : Maritime domain awareness is also generating cooperative synergies in the neighbourhood.
  • LIAISON OFFICERS : There are reports that seven Indian Ocean countries — Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles — will soon post Liaison Officers at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram.
  • INFORMATION HUB FOR IOR : France already has an officer at the IFC, and four other Indo-Pacific navies — Australia, Japan, the U.K and the U.S. — have also agreed to position officers at the centre.
  • LIAISON OFFICER IN IOR : New Delhi is also upping its engagement in the Western Indian Ocean by positioning a Liaison Officer at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar.

Established under the auspices of the Indian Ocean Commission that India joined recently as an ‘observer’, the RMIFC is a key centre of maritime information in the Western Indian Ocean.

  • EUROPEAN MARITIME AWARENESS : India has also posted an officer at the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi to assist in the monitoring of maritime activity in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

  • COOPERATION IN MARITIME DOMAIN : Delhi’s moves in the Western and South Western littorals have been facilitated by France, a key Indian Ocean power and a critical partner for India in the region.

Having signed a logistics agreement with New Delhi in 2019, Paris is keen for a stronger partnership in the maritime commons.
 

  • MARITIME PARTNERSHIP : France has been instrumental in securing ‘observer’ status for India at the Indian Ocean Commission, and is pushing for greater Indian participation in security initiatives in the Western Indian Ocean.
  • OPERATIONAL PERSPECTIVE : The Indian Navy’s priority remains South Asia, where the naval leadership remains focused on underwater domain awareness in the Eastern Indian Ocean.

CHINA WATCH

  • SILENT SUBMARINES : There is concern among maritime watchers that the PLAN may be poised to develop a generation of quieter submarines that would be hard to detect in the near-seas.

Three years after the Chinese staged a breakthrough in submarine propulsion by successful testing shaftless rim-driven pump-jets

  • ADVANCES STEALTH FEATURES : The next generation of PLAN nuclear submarines could be stealthier than ever, capable of beating adversary surveillance.
  • MAPPING UNDERSEA TERRAIN : The recent discovery of a Chinese unmanned underwater vehicle close to a southern Indonesian island suggests that China may already be mapping the undersea terrain in the approaches to the Indian Ocean Region.

Not surprisingly, India has moved to expand its underwater detection capabilities in the Eastern chokepoints. 

  • GUARDING OCEANS : In a bid to enhance surveillance over sensitive sea spaces, the Indian Navy has inducted two Sea Guardian drones on lease from the United States.
  • SURVEILLANCE AIRCRAFT : With nine operational P-8I aircraft, the Navy’s coverage of the Bay of Bengal littoral is already considerable.
  • ADDING MORE P-81 AIRCRAFTS : With nine more aircraft planned to be inducted- a deal being negotiated with Washington — the surveillance footprint is set to further grow.
  • UNDERSEA SENSORS : Speculation abounds that New Delhi might also partner Japan in installing an array of undersea sensors near the Andaman Islands to help detect Chinese submarines.

      IASbhai Windup: 

THE REAL TEST

  • STRATEGIC DELIBERATIONS : India’s initiatives in the maritime domain are motivated by more than just strategic considerations.
  • TACKLING TRANSNATIONAL CRIME : Indian decision makers recognise the need for cooperative tools to fight transnational crime in the littorals.

White shipping agreements with 21 countries in the Indian Ocean have enabled a comprehensive picture of maritime traffic, even as efforts are under way to help smaller island states build capacity to combat regional threats 

  • REAL TIME INFORMATION : India’s military satellite (GSAT-7A) may soon facilitate a real time sharing of maritime information with partners.
  • MISSION SAGAR : These endeavours, are a manifestation of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR), that advances the idea of India as a ‘security provider’ and ‘preferred partner’ in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • ALIGNMENT WITH LITTORAL STATES : Indian initiatives, however, are yet to bring about an alignment of objectives and strategies of regional littoral states.
  • INFORMATION OUTREACH : While cooperative information sharing allows for a joint evaluation of threats, countries do not always share vital information timeously.

To bring real change, India must ensure seamless information flow, generating operational synergy with partners, and aim to expand collaborative endeavours in shared spaces.

SUGGESTED READING : INDIA’S MARITIME STRATEGY 
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Indian Maritime Security Strategy | UPSC

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