Maritime Security

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  • Karthik Reddy asked: What are the challenges and merits/demerits of making a transition to an all-nuclear submarine force in India?

    Abhijit Singh replies: While nuclear submarines (SSNs and SSBNs) have certain distinct advantages over conventional submarines (SSKs), the idea of an all-nuclear force ­- in an Indian context - seems rather stretched. This is because conventional submarines, though constrained by operating endurance, have other benefits that their nuclear counterparts do not provide. A diesel-electric submarine's biggest advantage is that it is smaller, harder to detect and much cheaper to build.

    China’s Maritime Silk Route: Implications for India

    China’s announcement of a 10 billion Yuan ($1.6 billion) fund to finance the “maritime silk road plan” is a clear sign that it is serious about moving ahead with its stated plans. For India, it is instructive that the sales pitch of shared economic gains does not conceal the MSR’s real purpose: ensuring the security of sea lines of communications (SLOCs) in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

    July 16, 2014

    Indian Ocean Maritime Security Cooperation Needs Coherent Indian Leadership

    Maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is a central issue for regional and extra-regional actors. Traditional and non-traditional security challenges largely converge at sea as they impact economic, environmental, energy, human, food and national security. As the major regional power and an emerging Asian great power, India’s willingness and capacity to provide strategic leadership is critical to engendering a cooperative spirit of shared destiny. India’s growing naval capabilities indicate a strong commitment to maritime security.

    July 2014

    Kranti Tejan asked: Is China's new 'Maritime Silk Road' the other name for 'String of Pearls'? And, if so, what are its strategic and economic implications for India?

    Abhijit Singh replies: The ‘string of pearls’ is a notional concept that represents Indian fears of a Chinese maritime encirclement of India. The underlying apprehension is that the vast maritime infrastructure that China is establishing in the Indian Ocean may be used as naval logistics and resupply bases to facilitate a broad expansion of Chinese military influence and interests in the region.

    Marine Eco-concern and its Impact on the Indian Maritime Strategy

    Maritime strategic planning cannot be done in isolation of marine eco-concerns. Marine species are known to perceive the environment around them through acoustic signals, and depend on sound for numerous functions like foraging, communication and navigation. Noise as a pollutant has found scant reference in the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) document of 1982—the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS). The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is yet to include noise as a pollutant in its 1978 MARPOL Convention.

    April 2014

    Troubled Waters: Exploring the Emerging Dynamics between Navies and Private Security Companies in Anti-piracy Operations

    The return of piracy to the Indian Ocean in modern times has culminated in the resurgence of the private violence industry in the maritime domain. For the first time in modern history, the private military security industry will work alongside traditional navies on the field. The dynamics between the two major security actors in the anti-piracy operations make for an interesting study. This article argues that there exists much potential for fruitful engagement between the two actors: PMSCs and navies.

    April 2014

    Exploring Risks and Vulnerabilities: An Alternate Approach to Maritime Security Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region

    Maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has become a central consideration. Shared risks and common vulnerabilities for state and non-state actors, generated by traditional and non-traditional security challenges, converge to a significant extent at sea. Risk-based approaches offer the potential for regional and extra-regional actors to engage in a constructive and non-confrontational dialogue that can assist collective security cooperation.

    April 2014

    Naval symposium in China: Decoding the outcome

    The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) is a small but positive sign towards better communication channels between navies to reduce tension in the seas. But for CUES to become a reality many issues need to be resolved including the time frame for implementation.

    April 29, 2014

    The Indian Navy’s ‘China’ dilemma

    The naval exercise at Qingdao does not detract from the fact that the India-China maritime relationship is essentially an uneasy one. Each side is uncomfortable with the other’s presence in its own theatre of nautical influence, but both recognise the other’s dominance in their respective maritime ‘backyards’.

    April 28, 2014

    Jaydeep Asked: What are the security implications of China's ‘Maritime Silk Road’ for India?

    Abhijit Singh replies: In order to assess the security implications of the Maritime Silk Road (MSR), it is necessary to understand what the proposal really entails. China’s plan for a maritime corridor is intended at creating maritime infrastructure and enhancing connectivity in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. First proposed by President Xi Jinping during his trip to Southeast Asia in October 2013, the MSR was originally aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation between China and the ASEAN countries in the South China Sea. Recently, however, China reached out to Sri Lanka and India inviting them to join the MSR, revealing a wider vision for the Indian Ocean.

    An idea essentially premised on the leveraging of Chinese soft power, the MSR is potentially beneficial for all regional states in the near term. Part of its appeal lies in an allied initiative of a maritime cooperation fund announced by Chinese Premier Li Kechiang last year, which regional state have shown interest in. The sales pitch of “shared economic gains”, however, does little to conceal the proposal’s real purpose: ensuring the security of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) in the Indian Ocean. In its eventual form, therefore, the MSR could end up setting up Chinese logistical hubs and military bases, linking up already existing ‘string of pearls’.

    As Beijing becomes more involved in the security and governance of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), it could pose a challenge to India’s stature of a ‘net provider of security’ in the region, thereby adversely affecting New Delhi’s geopolitical stakes and strategic influence.

    Posted on April 16, 2014

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