The Indian Navy celebrates Navy Day on December 4 every year to commemorate its successful seaborne attack off Karachi harbour during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Other tales of bravery –
In December 1961 it had fought against Portuguese forces to liberate Goa, and thereafter in the 1965 India-Pakistan war a few Indian naval Alize aircraft stationed at Jamnagar undertook surveillance and reconnaissance missions over the Arabian Sea to support the Indian Air Force.
- Over the years the priority accorded to the army and air force hardware requirements to counter landward threats constrained the navy to warship replacement programmes.
- The challenge for any fighting navy is to ensure replacements of its warships. Accordingly the Indian Navy has to maintain a force level of at least 120 ships with an average It’s become important life of 20 years and towards this objective it has to induct at least six warships annually.
Changing role –
- Over the last 70 years the IN has developed skill-sets to build warships for tropical conditions, to sail in the Northern Indian Ocean characterised by high temperatures, humidity and salinity that creates a corrosive climate. Therefore, IN warships designed for tropical conditions are export-worthy marine platforms to other Indian Ocean littoral countries.
- The Prime Minister on his first visit outside New Delhi after assuming office in June 2014 was to the country’s largest warship, INS Vikramaditya, an aircraft carrier stationed off the Goa coast. This suggests the ascendance of IN in national security and foreign policy priorities.
- Also, Modi’s maritime diplomacy with Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka in March 2015 seeks to strengthen New Delhi’s influence in the Indian Ocean region.
- The IN is an instrument of maritime diplomacy which involves goodwill visits by warships to foreign ports, naval exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, besides persuasive deployment. Even coast guards comprise a component of maritime diplomacy.
- The IN from its base in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands promotes multi-lateral maritime diplomacy through the Milan Exercises conducted every two years with navies of the Southeast Asian region.
- There is a strategic shift towards China with the recent stand-off at Doklam and the presence of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean.
As the biggest nation in the Indian Ocean region, it becomes incumbent upon India to ensure peace and stability. IN is the sole instrument of national power to assert state sovereignty across the maritime domain which acquires economic importance due to offshore oil, gas and mineral resources.