India keen on naval exports to nations in the IOR
Sai Nikesh | The Dollar Business In a move to expand its presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Government of India is keen on supporting maritime infrastructure of its friendly countries in the region, by pushing naval exports. The Indian government is all set to commission it’s first-ever export warship-Barracuda, to Mauritius on March 12, 2015, says a report from the Indian Defence & Research Wing (IDRW). Besides this, the Indian government has already cleared exports of 13 other warships to Mauritius and these are expected to be supplied in the coming year. The report further says that the government is also willing to extend a similar maritime support to other small countries in the region, so as to counter Chinese presence in the IOR. As per the report, a senior navy official was quoted to have said that most navies in our littoral region (part of ocean close to shore) look for sub-20 metre boats for harbour patrol, 50-60 metre boats for their territorial waters and 80-110 metre boats for their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance. Goa Shipyards Limited and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata, have set up production lines for producing and offering these ships at competitive prices and in a fixed, time-bound manner to these friendly nations, he added. The report further says that the Government of India, under its Make in India move for indigenous development of defence, has recently cleared proposals of supplying two Fast Patrol Vessels and 11 Fast Track Crafts to Mauritius, among others, at a total cost of around Rs 1200 crore. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy is also under plans to acquire 50 ship-borne drones for intelligence, surveillance purposes, as a part of its efforts to boost its maritime security, say the defence sources, according to the IDRW report. In another case, the United States Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris on Tuesday, during his meet with the Indian Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan, raised concerns over the moves of China in South China Sea. While informing that the US currently has 60% of its sub-surface fleet and 55% of its surface ships in the Pacific region, the US official was reported to have told that the ‘US is looking to put in place, 60% of its naval fleet in the Pacific region, by 2020’. He, however, said that such supposed plans of the US were not directed against China, but only in view of the US recognizing its economic future in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. While informing that the US is also keen on upgrading the annual Indo-US Malabar naval exercise into a multilateral venture along with Japan and Australia as regular participants, the US official added that there is a need for both the US and Indian navies to focus on building their maritime relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
This article was published on March 04, 2015.