Navy Day / Interaction
“The Navy stands committed to providing stability, not just to the IOR, but also for safeguarding our interests across the oceans,” said Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral D.K. Joshi while addressing the media on the eve of Navy Day. The Navy Chief said that coastal security continues to remain an important aspect of the Navy’s comprehensive approach towards maritime security. Excerpts of the communication with SP’s Naval Forces Editor-in-Chief Jayant Baranwal:
Jayant Baranwal (JB): Coastal security continues to be a weak link in India’s maritime domain. What steps have been taken or need to be taken to strengthen this part of the national security apparatus?
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS): The Navy has been given the overall responsibility of maritime security including coastal security. It is in the public domain. However, different sections of the media project it differently. There are two paradigms to it—inter-governmental coordination and hardware. Inter-governmental coordination is a very complex issue and we faced many complex challenges coordinating as there are too many departments involved including fisheries, customs, immigration, agriculture, etc. The Fisheries Department in many states are under the state Agriculture Department. It took a great amount of time to overcome the challenges in inter-governmental coordination, but now it has been resolved and is at an outstanding level. The involvement of the Cabinet Secretariat has helped resolve many inter-departmental issues. The second paradigm, hardware, impacts not only the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard but also the coastal states having the task of enhancing coastal security. Things are much better now and not like it were three-four years back, and it will continue to improve.
JB: What in your perception are the maritime security challenges emerging in the Indian Ocean region and beyond?
CNS: Our maritime security challenges include coastal security, piracy, the developing circumstances in the Gulf region, ingress of other navies into our region, etc. We are continuously evolving and preparing to face all challenges.
JB: What step is the Indian Navy taking to exploit space-based capabilities for the conduct of operations in the future?
CNS: There are thoughts of having a Joint-Services Command for the purpose.
JB: As CNS, what are your views on the offset policy and implementation of the modernisation programmes? How satisfactory is it?
CNS: Offset is a fairly complex process. If we look at the countries where it has been implemented, it has been quite challenging. It is an evolving process. It was not possible to absorb the amount of offset which was being offered. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (internal security) and Ministry of Civil Aviation and in Ministry of Defence, it will be done but in an evolving process. The process has to be continuously reviewed and additional sectors have to be opened.
JB: Is the Indian Navy looking for unmanned combat aerial vehicles?
CNS: The Indian Navy already has experience of operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and yes we are currently looking for weaponsied versions of UAVs.