This video shows you that Modernisation On Track, But Budget Constraints Remain: Navy Chief Sunil Lanba.
From challenges in the Indian Ocean and modernisation hurdles to realignment of forces and status of pending military pacts with the US, navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba spoke to Rahul Singh in an interview on a range of issues in the navy. Excerpts:
How does the navy propose to counter China’s growing presence in Indian Ocean Region?
Let me dispel the notion that presence of extra-regional maritime forces in international waters is an existential threat in itself. There are warships of various nations that transit through the ocean. We constantly evaluate security environment in our areas of interest to manage deployments. Enhanced domain awareness through mission-based deployments and information-sharing with our maritime partners has emerged as one of the cornerstones of our security strategy.
Is the Chinese military footprint in IOR denting India’s influence?
With critical trade routes flowing through this region, the significance of IOR for global economic development needs no emphasis. We have always shown respect for the principles of international law and would never question legitimate use of the seas. However, concerns are being raised from several quarters about the intent of Chinese military movements.
Any concerns about the rapid expansion of the Chinese fleet?
Every country pursues its modernisation plans based on its own threat assessment. I would like to believe that the expansion of Chinese navy is also based on such an assessment. We, too, undertake periodic assessments of our maritime security environment and, accordingly, recalibrate our plans and operational philosophy. While we keep a close eye on all regional maritime developments, we have no reason to be overly concerned.
How has the mission-based deployment of combat-ready warships changed things in IOR?
We have realigned our deployments based on our assessment of the maritime security environment, and this is an ongoing process. The new operational philosophy allows us to deploy mission-ready ships along critical maritime routes, enhancing our strategic domain awareness.
How does the navy plan to strike a balance between a limited budget and meeting its modernisation goals?
Our modernisation plans are well on track. There are concerns regarding capital allocation, particularly for modernisation, which are being addressed (in consultation) with all stakeholders. The navy is focused on achieving an ideal balance between the available budget and our modernisation plans through indigenisation and prioritisation.
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