India’s Maritime challenges are associated with the security and Governance of Indian Ocean, the threats to the littoral countries and the problems of Indian Navy.
India’s densely crowded littorals have a higher density of human habitation than the global trend.
Governance and Security
Good Governance and social economic development nurtures a vital stake of India’s citizenry the vital synergies as primary stakeholders in combating crime and terrorism. Heavy handed security measures and draconian legislations have no appeal for a discounted populace. Human security form human development is the derivative of good governance yielding comprehensive security.
India crafts its operational response as a joint operations approach that would brings in the Navy and Coast Guard as the prime enables linking with the Air Force and civilian administration at the central and state levels.
Joint operations go by nodal agency that would shape and lead the response mechanism. Littoral-maritime operations demand a single maritime agency that coordinates the coastal and off shore security.
A rising India should adeptly balance the imperatives of governance and security on one hand while accentuating growth and stability.
Challenges to Littorals
Naval power had always been technology intensive and most innovative like aerospace power. Waves of technology revolutions have rendered obsolescent the concepts, doctrines, operations and the hardware of the past era.
Four cardinal challenges stand out for India.
- The pace of platform buildup outpaces by the platform ageing of the current inventory-therefore the order of battle of the fleet is constantly under flux with falling numbers. Although considerable service-life-extension-programs have gone into the platforms with hybridization of technology, these platforms are now coming to an end of their immensely useful operational life. The imperatives for newer platforms on emerging technology templates require urgency. However, the addition of platforms to the ratio of retirement has- not been sufficient in numbers.
- Secondly, the complexity and diversity of missions have been increasing stressing the existing fleets into missions often beyond their capacity.
- Thirdly, the pace of Revolution in Military Affairs or even specifically the Revolution in Naval Affairs produces new synergies in technology, doctrines and operations resulting in new templates of naval platforms, organizational and operational complexity.
- The operational reputation of a navy is often intact unless challenged by a rising challenger or a new wave of technology and weaponry that may reduce the robustness of an established navy be inflicting a shocking defeat.
- The pace of the plan modernization and the strategic alliances that it is building with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka for access and basing engages the Navy into inevitable regional overdrive to sustain and leverage its power and domain. It demands the Indian Navy the buildup of capacities in organizational, order of battle and operational wherewithal that would be able to develop a strong forward presence in the Strait of Malacca-South China Sea all the way to the East Pacific as a counterpoise to the Chinese maritime access building