How Indian Navy is calibrating its Indo-Pacific strategy

While there is plenty to be proud of, the Indian Navy cannot sit back on its laurels as China has increased its presence in the Indian Ocean over the last decade. Here is why a rising India needs a stronger Navy.

Indo-Pacific at the centre of geopolitics

India's maritime strategy is in focus, with the Indo-Pacific being at the centre of geopolitics. The country's geographic location makes it a key player in the Indian Ocean, making the role of the Navy critical. 

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China's increased presence since 2008

The Indian subcontinent is buzzing with activity and the Indian Navy is closely watching as the events unfold. India has been cleanly observing China as it has increased presence in the Indian Ocean since 2008.

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Global concern over China's growing assertiveness

From the United States to Japan and Australia there is a growing concern over China's growing assertion in the Indian Ocean.

China's naval power has grown significantly as it has been building new ships, submarines and missiles.

What's more concerning is China's investment in big-ticket maritime infrastructure, especially deepwater ports.

 

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China's string of pearls strategy

China is following a string of pearls strategy, using investments as a tool it plans to encircle India by building naval ports. The Chinese already control the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.

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Quadrilateral Security Dialogue

India fears that the Chinese military could end up using such ports for military purposes, a fear that is shared by major nations around the world.

India, Japan, Australia and the United States are working together in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue to counter China's rise.

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India steps up overseas deployment

India alone is taking steps to counter China's growing deployments by stepping up its own overseas deployments. India has secured agreements with other nations for military access to their bases.

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India's access to foreign bases

These bases include Indonesia's strategically located deep-sea Sabang port as well as the Duqm port in Oman.

India has also secured access to the American base in Diego Garcia and the French base on Reunion Island.

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Indian Navy seeks higher budget for rapid modernisation

However, the rapid modernisation of the Navy is a need of the hour.

In September, the Indian Navy said that it will request the government for a higher budget.

As of today, the Navy's share of the defence budget is less than 14 per cent which the Navy wants to increase to at least 18 per cent. The additional funds will go towards major acquisitions.

The Indian Navy also wants to buy more advanced submarines and fighter aircraft.

(Photograph:AFP)