With an eye on increasing Chinese naval presence in the region, the Indian Navy has approved a plan for deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points in the Indian Ocean Region. This was discussed in the ongoing naval commanders’ conference. A total of 14-15 ships will be deployed year-round in the region.
Navy sources told The Indian Express that these ships are being “deployed always ready to meet any eventuality across the spectrum of operations ranging from acts of maritime terrorism and piracy to Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions. These deployments are aimed at maintaining 24/7 and round the year (vigil) with ships being sustained and turned around on station.”
The Navy’s ability to deploy and sustain in tandem with the new mission-based deployment concept has now resulted in greater presence and visibility in the Indian Ocean region.
The areas where these ships and corvettes and surveillance aircraft are being deployed include the Malacca Strait, Andaman Sea, North Andaman Sea, including Bangladesh and Myanmar, Lakshadweep islands and the Maldives, besides Madagascar and the Persian Gulf.
These vessels are being used to monitor increased Chinese presence in these areas.
The change in the concept to mission-based deployment has necessitated a change in the methods used to sustain and support ships by the Navy. According to sources, the Navy Chief “has approved a new transition cycle for ships from maintenance periods to operational deployments that allow for a focused and gradual transition of ships from periods of maintenance layoffs to full-scale operations.”
The new transition cycle, sources said, focuses efforts of operational commanders on “training and safety inspections of ships” before deployment.
The ongoing naval commanders’ conference also reiterated the navy’s focus on efforts on capacity and capability development of navies in the region.