By focusing on stronger military ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia – both key global suppliers of hydrocarbons – India hopes to maintain robust diplomatic relations while ensuring coordination in the event of security concerns in crucial sea lanes.
“The naval exercises conducted by the Indian Navy with the navies of the UAE and Saudi Arabia underline a broader outreach effort by India with nations in the Middle East,” Daniel Darling, Senior Military Markets Analyst, Europe & Asia/Pacific Rim, Forecast International Inc., says.
According to the US based expert, “The naval exercises ultimately serve as diplomacy by other means, amounting to “showing the flag” and tightening military-to-military relations. Such exercises may also lead to potential sales of defense materiel to two significant importers of military hardware.”
“Rather than cede influence across the region to China, India is undertaking a diplomatic engagement campaign with regional countries of disparate backgrounds and interests, be they Israel, Iran, or the aforementioned Gulf nations,” he opines.
“It is important to note that the shipping lane stretching from the Persian Gulf into the Arabian Sea and across the Indian Ocean represents the crucial transport lifeline for about 60 percent of Chinese oil and over 70 percent of India’s,” Mr Darling says.
Showcasing its presence in the Persian Gulf region also serves as a reminder to China that the Indian Navy’s charge of projecting power across the Indian Ocean Region is not subsiding.
“Cooperation with other nation’s militaries bolsters the Indian armed forces’ out-of-theater sustainability (through potential agreements regarding usage of ports and refueling capabilities, for example), relations with potential security partners, and strategic depth with which to check China’s advances in the Gulf,” he concludes.
Ex ‘Al -Mohed Al-Hindi’ (Indian Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Force)
Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr Ausaf Sayeed, accompanied by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF), Rear Adm Ajay Kochhar had visited INS Kochi at Al Jubail ahead of the exercises.