Eastern seaboard Indian Navy’s biggest strength: expert

Indian Navy is the best stabilising force for the good and the Bay of Bengal its strategic defence backyard fostering relations with several countries, Commodore Srikant B Kesnur, Director of Maritime Warfare Centre, Mumbai, has said.

The Navy is the best response and crisis force and its big strength is on the Eastern seaboard, Cmde. Kesnur said.

Stating that the Indian Navy and the Bay of Bengal were intimately connected, he said Indian Navy had a huge role to play in terms of the Eastern Theatre and provided palpable physical dimension to the “Act East” policy.

Whether it was security, policing, foreign cooperation or humanitarian aid, India was always in the forefront rushing aid and helping the SAARC and Bay of Bengal countries, he said delivering a guest lecture on “Indian Navy and the Bay of Bengal” here on Tuesday.

The lecture was organised by the UGC Centre for SAARC Studies and the Departments of History, Archaeology, Political Science and Public Administration and Sociology.

Because of its large Navy, India was in the league of big nations and in a position to send vessels to other countries, he said.

Beginning as a small entity at the time of independence, Indian Navy had come a long way with the US considering maritime co-operation turning one of the biggest components in Indo-US relations and its Defence Secretary Ashton Carton visiting the ENC. The British Prime Minister, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit committed the participation of the British Navy in the IFR here in which 50 countries participated compared to five in a Japanese fleet review prior to that.

Cmde. Kesnur said whether it is Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia or Malaysia, Indian Navy was the first to rush humanitarian aid in times of crisis or co-operate with them like in the search of MH 370, or assistance for hydrographic studies for which private companies would charge hefty fee. Its quick response to tsunami had brought the US Navy closer to the Indian Navy, he said.

The Indian Navy had intense engagement with the countries in the Bay and extended region. At Goa two vessels were being built for Sri Lanka and one of them had already been delivered.

Cmde Kesnur said all this was made possible by fostering relations and participating in exercises like Malabar, SIMBEX or coordinated patrols for decades.

He emphasised the role of the East Coast since World War II and the decisive role it played in the 1971 war with the entire range of operations happening on the East Coast.

Whether peace-keeping in Sri Lanka or rushing aid to tsunami-hit countries and States, ENC played a key role, he said. With 50 to 60 % of its ships deployed in the Bay of Bengal, the Navy provided surplus security in the region.

Andhra University Vice-Chancellor G Nageswara Rao said the university was training the uniformed personnel to enable them get better opportunities after service. The university planned to get all three Chiefs of Services and the Navy Chief had agreed. Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa would visit the campus on September 8. Head of the Sociology Department N John Babu presided.

Chairman of Board of Studies, Politics, P Arun Kumar and Assistant Professor of SAARC Studies Centre V Srimannarayana Murthy participated.

By: The Hindu

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