In the lead article, former Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, makes a cogent case for Aircraft Carriers in the Indian Navy, especially the induction of a second aircraft carrier, in spite of the programme facing many headwinds. Dwelling on the geostrategic environment of the Indo-Pacific region he states that if we want to be a regional power and have the capability to be counted in the Indian Ocean and the larger Indo-Pacific, then we need to invest in enhancing our maritime capability and a potent Navy. There is a need for air power at sea and it is here and now!
In a related story by Lt General Katoch (Retd), it was a proud day for India when the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) Vikrant successfully completed its maiden sea trials in the first week of August 2021. The IAC-1 is the most complex shipbuilding project ever undertaken in India. Designed by the Navy’s own Design Bureau with consultancies from across the world, it has been built by Cochin Shipyard Limited who had no past experience of building a warship. It has put India in a small league of nations that have designed and build aircraft carriers. A number of other sub systems and machinery have also been developed in the country and that the programme really supports the Atmanirbhar Bharat agenda of the Government of India.
A high-level open debate on ‘Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation’ was held virtually on August 9, 2021, chaired by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The open debate focussed on ways to effectively counter maritime crime and insecurity and strengthened coordination in the maritime domain. As per the Indian government’s press release, Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to preside over a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open debate.
Another major event which took place was the 2+2 ministerial dialogue with Australia. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh & External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar held this dialogue with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton respectively on September 11, 2021. During the 2+2 Dialogue, both countries discussed institutional frameworks for wide ranging collaboration including expanding military engagements across services and facilitate greater sharing of critical information to expand strategic ties. A report on the event is included in this issue of the magazine.
The Indian Navy is taking on the challenges of the South China Sea by its ongoing deployment to South East Asia, the South China Sea and the Western Pacific. The Indian Navy made its presence felt in the South China Sea in August when a task force of four warships sailed during the deployment. More details are inside in the article by Saloni Salil.
As usual this issue is wrapped by the News Digest & flag posting. Wish you all discerning readers happy reading and a Joyful Dussehra! Stay safe!