The Indian Ocean Region is seeing a sudden spurt in Bi-lateral, Tri-lateral and Multi-lateral exercises amongst the navies of likeminded Democracies and other littorals in the region.
However, “At the very outset, one thing must be brought out very clearly that these exercises are not any knee-jerk reflex reactions to the expansionist overtures of the Chinese PLA Navy, but a result of decades of diplomatic relations along with neutral and progressive policies of India as a country and Indian Navy (IN) as a professional force,” explains the former spokesperson of the Indian Navy Capt DK Sharma to Financial Express Online.
According to him, “response of Indian Navy post the Boxing Day Tsunami 2004 brought her to the fore and thereafter it’s been seen that it’s de facto the first responder should there be a crisis/HADR emergency in IOR.”
Why so many naval drills?
Due to the global pandemic of coronavirus, a lot of such drills had been pushed back due to stringent protocols in place.
“The navies graduate to exercising with each other when there is a common cause and there is a possibility to operate together in times if needed. The confidence-building though happens in the background with staff talks and visits by top hierarchy,” Capt Sharma says.
Indian Navy has excellent relations with all the Navies of the world and especially, with those in the IOR and has institutionalised operating procedures with them ranging from maritime boundaries patrolling to bilateral/trilateral/multilateral exercises of varying complexities.