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By Sumit Kumar Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh emphasised the Navy's responsibility in ensuring a secure and open Indo-Pacific, thereby defending the country's economic interests, at the induction ceremony in Visakhapatnam on November 21, 2021.
In light of this, now is a good moment to consider how our waters affect everyone of our lives, even those who live in the hinterland.
What is it about the Navy that makes it the favoured tool for preserving the nation's and the world's economic ambitions?
Throughout recorded history, maritime channels have been used to conduct trade and cultural exchange. Historically, the seas have served as highways for trade and discovery.
Also read: Indian Navy Day
Maritime trade and commerce are economic activities that require a secure and favourable environment in order to develop. It was in response to this need that fleets were created.
Until the 13th century, the Cholas possessed a formidable navy that allowed them to trade and expand their influence all the way to Southeast Asia. The world's biggest temple, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, bears witness to this fact. Vasco Da Gama, a Portuguese explorer, found India via the maritime route in 1498.
He founded India.wikipedia
Until there was a genuine fleet defending the Indian coastline, European nations' imperialistic aims were held in check. In the mid-eighteenth century, the loss of Maratha naval might permitted European nations, notably the British, to exercise their muscles.
The British conquest and pillage of the vast Indian subcontinent that followed took place on the high seas as well.
As a consequence, it is abundantly obvious that the existence of strong naval forces has allowed us to grow throughout the years, while'sea blindness' resulting in weakened naval strength led to the final conquest, ruin, and exploitation of the Indian subcontinent.
What relevance does this historical lesson have in today's world?
Simply put, the world's reliance on marine trade in general, and India's in particular, has never been stronger. Maritime commerce accounts for 95 percent of all Indian trade volume and 70 percent of all trade value.
To put it another way, around 80% of the fuel we put in our cars at the gas station comes in via the marine route.
Similarly, practically all semiconductor chips integrated gadgets and components like as batteries and display components are imported into the nation by water, whether it's a smartphone, a television, or a computer.
On the other hand, all autos made in India, as well as raw materials, food grain, and other products made in India, are sent throughout the world by sea.
The ramifications of a well-coordinated terror assault with such devastating results are nearly unimaginable.wikipedia
Let's take a look at what happened in the Suez Canal on March 23, 2021, to get a better idea of how important maritime trade.
While the Ever Given tragedy may have been caused by human error, the risk of a similar disaster occurring in other congested waterways as a result of purposeful military action or a planned terror assault remains a frightening possibility.
The ramifications of a well-coordinated terror assault with such devastating results are nearly unimaginable. Consider the impact on a country like India, which is heavily reliant on imports. Without a doubt, the world's marine trade is susceptible to a variety of challenges and requires security.
As the country moves closer to being a global industrial centre, it will require more and more marine trade to bring in raw materials, oil, and petroleum, as well as to transport completed goods to their final destinations throughout the world, resulting in more employment, growth, and wealth.
A wide and diversified marine trade needs defence against both classic and non-traditional dangers. Only a capable and professional navy can provide such security, as history has shown.
The Indian Navy is tasked with ensuring the safety of the country's maritime trade through safeguarding sea lines of communication (SLOCs). This is still the principal military duty of the Indian Navy. The goal is accomplished by ensuring that navy ships and planes monitor and patrol the SLOCs.
In periods of peace and conflict, commerce trade departing from and heading for Indian ports is unaffected by prolonged presence and continual observation.
While the Indian Navy's primary duty is to defend trade, it also has a critical responsibility to protect the country's enormous coastline, offshore development regions, and island territories that are far from the mainland.
Indian Army and Border Security Force are responsible for ensuring that the country's land borders.wikipedia
The Indian Navy takes continuous measures to ensure that anti-national elements do not infiltrate our country via the sea route, just as the Indian Army and Border Security Force are responsible for ensuring that the country's land borders with neighbouring countries are well guarded and protected from external attacks.
Following the Mumbai terror attacks on 26/11, an extensive coastal radar network and surveillance system were put in place. The Indian Navy's ships, planes, RPAs, and boats are constantly patrolling the coastal areas.
(keywords: Indian Navy, Indian Army and Border Security Force, Mumbai, anti-national elements, sea lines of communication (SLOCs), petroleum)
Every year on December 4, Indian Navy Day is celebrated wherein the whole country remembers one of the most significant operations, Operation Trident.
This year, the nation is all set to celebrate the day as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’, as it shall be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the victory in the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
It must be noted that the Indian Navy was established by the East India Company (EIC) in the year 1612. Later on, it was named as Royal India Navy, and post-Independence, it was again named as the Indian Navy in the year 1950.
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces which is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief. Moreover, the Maratha Emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is considered as the Father of the Indian Navy.
Now, Indian Navy Day becomes much more important because this day commemorates Operation Trident– a key offensive during the 1971 India-Pakistan War, when the Indian Navy inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani vessels in Karachi harbour area.
Lt. Gen A.A.K. Niazi of Pakistan signing the Instrument of Surrender with Lt. Gen J.S. Aurora of India watching with a smile, at Dhaka at 4:55 pm that day.Photo by Wikimedia Commons.
Going back in history, the India-Pakistan War of 1971 had begun on December 3, when the Pakistan Air Force launched pre-emptive strikes on airfields in Western India regions. To this, India responded by formally declaring war in the wee hours of December 4.
Now, on December 4 under Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank three vessels near the Pakistani port city of Karachi. The stalwarts of the mission were the then-recently acquired Soviet Osa missile boats, fitted with 4 SS-N-2 (P-15) Styx missiles.
INS Kiltan, Katchall, Nipat, Nighat, and Veer sank PNS Khaibar killing almost 222 Pakistani sailors, and PNS Muhafiz killing around 33 Pakistani sailors, along with a merchant ship, MV Venus Challenger.
At the same time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) also played a crucial role during Operation Trident.
Operation Trident came to an end when on December 5, the Indian Navy’s Western C-in-C, Vice Admiral SN Kohli received the code word “Angaar”, which meant nothing but success.
Finally, the war of 1971 came to an end on December 16 when Lt. Gen A.A.K. Niazi of Pakistan signed the Instrument of Surrender with Lt. Gen J.S. Aurora of India watching with a smile, at Dhaka at 4:55 pm that day. This successfully marked India’s victory in the war of 1971!
Keywords: Indian Navy Day, India, History, 1971 War, Indo-Pak War, Victory, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Operation Trident.
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
Twelve days after the devastating Cyclone Tauktae grounded a barge near Palghar coast, fresh concerns have cropped up following an oil spill reported from the huge vessel, locals and fisherfolk said here on Saturday.
The fishing community is worried as oil is reported to be leaking from the Barge GAL Constructor which got stuck in the rocky shores off Vadrai on May 17 with 135 people on board.
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While all crewmen were saved by the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard battling extreme weather conditions in the Arabian Sea during those three harrowing days, a new problem has emerged now with oil seeping out of the stranded vessel, 12 days after it hit the ground.
Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti Palghar President Manendra Arekar said that the barge had more than 80 tonnes of diesel, grease, and other lubricants on board, which is now being seen on the sea waters, posing a huge threat to the marine life and livelihood of the fisherfolk.
“There is usually a ban on all fishing activities from May 31-July 31 owing to the breeding season of the marine life during the monsoon. Thousands of fishermen here depend on the sea for their survival. People have complained about the odor of oil emanating from the fish,” Arekar told media persons today.
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Though nearly a fortnight has elapsed since the barge hit the rocky sea bottom here, he said the concerned authorities and the vessel owners and contractors have taken no steps in the matter.
According to an official, the Satpati Coastal Police Station has been approached by the vessel owners-contractors to examine and take up containment measures while the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has been apprised of the situation. (IANS/KB)