Vimarsha: ‘Role of Indian Navy in Changing Security Environment’, Talk by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC | Vivekananda International Foundation
Vimarsha: ‘Role of Indian Navy in Changing Security Environment’, Talk by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) invited Admiral Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, the Chief of Indian Navy, for its monthly Vimarsha series of lectures on issues of contemporary and historical importance for India. A wide galaxy of security experts, including former retired generals, bureaucrats, diplomats among others, interacted with the Naval Chief following his talk.

Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, kicked off the session on a complimentary note, congratulating the Indian Navy for its sustained positive image and high visibility. He also drew the audience’s attention to some of Indian Navy’s remarkable achievements in recent times, especially INS Tarini, an all-women crew of the Indian Navy on a non-stop exploration mission around the Globe and the successful hosting of the biennial Milan exercise, held off the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in early March this year. Dr. Gupta further underpinned the India Navy’s role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region. The expanding role of the Indian Navy, even as the Indian Ocean gets subsumed into a wider regional context i.e. Indo-Pacific, was amply underscored by Dr. Gupta in his opening remarks.

In his address before the VIF’s audience, Admiral Anil Lanba highlighted India’s rich maritime traditions, citing Lothal as the first dock and the subsequent naval expeditions of the Maratha Navy and the Chola Empire. He mentioned key feature of India’s security environment as dynamic and uncertain, accentuated by great power rivalry across a wide range of domains like economic, technological, military and climate change, as also complemented by shift of global centre of gravity to Asia.

The speaker explained that a complex and intertwined maritime mercantile system has created strong desire among players to sustain economic growth with voracious thirst for resources. There is rapid increase in diversity of maritime activities in terms of scale and scope. This has led to securing of resources overseas and increasing territorial assertiveness, largely played out in the maritime domain. But absence of war has not guaranteed prosperous peace. On the contrary, the region is witnessing an arms race on a scale never witnessed before in recent memory and at the same time, the balance of power that once favoured India is also threatened, especially with the rise of China’s navy. The conventional and non-conventional spectrum of deterrence is posing serious challenges to India’s security. Technology has enabled terrorism to widen its scope and reach, 26/11 being a case in point. The Navy Chief further elaborated that some of these challenges are hybrid, transnational and non-state origin, and relate also to legal limitations and interpretations.

Among other issues, Admiral Lanba discussed Indian Navy’s preparedness broadly in light of command of sea being instrumental to achieving peace and growth for India as proposed by the famous Indian naval strategist and diplomat KM Pannikar. The Chief also brought to light that India’s maritime doctrine rests on five pillars, i.e. strategy for deterrence, preparation for conflict, creating favourable and positive environment, coastal and offshore security, and finally, force and capability development. He further elaborated that sustaining an all-round and inclusive partnership with Indian Ocean states is part of India’s broader maritime strategy. The Indian Navy, the Chief stated, is a balanced, multi-dimensional and fully networked force with optimum mix of capabilities and capacity development.

The Navy Chief reiterated his commitment for indigenisation and self-sufficiency. Both private and public shipyards are engaged in manufacturing high-end vessels, including air craft carriers; a carrier battle group enhances combat area, reach and fire power. As a final point, the Naval Chief stressed on safeguarding the Sea lines of communications and maintaining the security architecture in Indian Ocean.

Event Date 
May 23, 2018

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