The Eastern Naval Command has now moved ahead from only protecting the country’s interests within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to mission-based deployment, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, flag officer commanding-in-chief, ENC, told TOI in Kolkata on Saturday. The presence of the Navy is now being felt well beyond the EEZ, said the commander of the largest geographical naval commands in the country. He was in the city for the INS Hooghly Cup and Navy Cup Races.
“India is the stabilizing factor in the region and we are the net security provider. We want smaller countries to look up to us to provide stability and security. We are doing this through exercises and missions. Assets wise, there is a lot of demand and we have already developed maintenance and operating programmes to deal with the situation,” Vice Admiral Singh said.
Over the last several years, China has increased its presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) significantly. One of the reasons is the protection of its energy interests as nearly 70% of its oil imports pass through the IOR. Not only that, China wants to dominate the IOR militarily and push India to a corner in a bid to throttle her growth. The taking over of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka by Chinese companies is a strategic move in this direction.
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