By 2022, the Maritime Theatre command could become a reality.
The new chief of the Indian Navy Admiral Hari Kumar, who is an advocate for Integrated Theatre Command, ahead of the Navy Day told the media persons that Maritime Theatre Command could be finalised by next year.
Responding to media queries, the Navy chief said “Work is in progress. It could be six months or longer as the details are being worked out.” The new chief has played a very important role in the concept of as the Chief of the Integrated Defence Command.
What does this mean for the Indian Navy?
For all sea-going submarines, planes, surveillance assets like drones, and sea-going warships, the new Maritime Theatre Command is likely to be a one-point command structure.
According to officials, this Command will integrate and unify the assets of all the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force and also the Coast Guard.
To a question, the new chief said that the Navy supports reforms and enhanced tri-service synergy. According to him, “The third stage of war gaming and a study has been done. The whole process is complicated. The structure will be lean and the charter of the Command will be operational.”
The Navy is looking at a rule based, open and free approach to regional security. In response to another question, the naval chief said that the situation on northern borders has added to security challenges. “During the crisis we were forward deployed along Line of Actual Control. And we were ready in case an escalation happened.”
Almost USD 200 billion worth of trade passes through the waters in the Indo-Pacific. “Our planning is for our own maritime capability, it is not against any country.”
Indian Navy assets
Two rounds of sea trials of the aircraft carrier Vikrant have been completed. The new carrier is being constructed by the Cochin shipyard and has almost 76 percent indigenous content. He also highlighted that in the last seven years, 28 ships have been commissioned which have been built in India. And of 39 ships and submarines under construction, 37 were being built in India.
Is there a requirement for another IAC?
He said that the carrier brings different capabilities.
Bilateral & Multilateral Exercises
In his opening statement the chief mentioned that the Navy had participated in 22 bilateral and multilateral exercises in 2021. And the scale and complexity of the exercises has gone up.
And, with proactive deployment, the Navy helped in preventing any misadventure within the maritime domain.
He also talked about International Liaison Officers from 14 countries being invited at the Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR). Out of these so far nine have joined and more will join soon.
The focus of the service on the infra development in Island territories. These will act as springboards for operational turnaround.