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Indraneel Bhardwaj asked: As an aspiring ‘net security provider’ in the IOR, is India suitably equipped for undertaking MOOTW in the IOR?

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  • Roby Thomas replies: India and the Indian Navy have emerged as the first port of call and a dependable partner for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littoral navies to address their maritime security needs. This was reflected on by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on May 23, 2013, when he stated “Our defence cooperation has grown and today we have unprecedented access to high technology, capital and partnerships. We have also sought to assume our responsibility for stability in the Indian Ocean Region. We are well positioned, therefore, to become a net provider of security in our immediate region and beyond.”

    To fulfil India’s commitment of being the ‘net security provider’ for the IOR, the Indian Navy has undertaken military operations other than war (MOOTW) in the IOR over the last many years. India has been a close partner in the capacity building efforts of IOR littorals which includes gifting of ships and aircraft to countries like Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. India has provided Dornier aircraft and Advanced Light Helicopters to Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives, where they are also being effectively utilised for humanitarian relief.

    The Indian Navy is also the leader in leveraging India’s ‘soft power’ potential by providing quality training to close to a thousand foreign naval personnel each year at its naval training institutes and also by deputing naval mobile training teams abroad. India has also taken the initiative to institutionalise the practical training for naval personnel from IOR littoral nations, with regular embarkation of foreign cadets on its cadet training ships, invitation of ‘International Observers’ for the ‘Joint Tri-Service HADR Exercise’ and the Goa Maritime Symposium as well as the Admirals Cup Sailing Regatta – all coordinated by the Indian Navy on an yearly basis.

    The Indian Navy has undertaken numerous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations in the IOR over the years. The last one for which it received worldwide appreciation for being the ‘First HADR Responder’ was during Cyclone ‘IDAI’, which struck Mozambique in March 2019. Indian ships and helicopters were at hand, within hours of the cyclone striking the Mozambique shores to carry out search and rescue operations. Indian personnel also provided the much required succour by setting up medical camps and community service centres supplying food and freshwater to the local population This further validated the Indian Navy’s reach and capability as an effective ‘net security provider’ in the IOR.

    Posted on December 31, 2019

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.