Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked upon a strategically important visit to Indonesia recently and subsequently addressed the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
India’s vision for Indo-Pacific (Very important)
He outlined the vision of India perfectly by highlighting that –
- India has completely embraced the concept of Indo-Pacific which entails strategic responsibilities and opportunities.
- India is committed to ‘free, open, transparent, rules-based, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific, where sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law such as freedom of navigation and overflight are respected’.
- India is ready to contribute to maritime security and safety (as enshrined in UNCLOS) to ensure the above mentioned freedoms.
Symbolism from United States
- United States has renamed the Hawaii-based US Pacific Command (PACOM) to the US Indo-Pacific Command (IPACOM) to symbolise the significance of America’s partnership with India in maintaining peace and tranquility in the Indo-Pacific region.
- It is being argued that the mission of IPACOM will be extended to the shores of East Africa to ensure a comprehensive engagement with all the stakeholders in the region.
Response from China
- China has responded by saying that its first foreign support base in Djibouti is aimed to enhance their capability in escorting, peace-keeping and humanitarian aid missions in Africa and West Asia.
- It argued that establishment of foreign bases should not be merely seen as an attempt to expand militarily as they are aimed at peacekeeping operations.
- It is argued that China is using the role of UN peacekeeping to justify its extra-littoral bases which are to be used to support the Belt and Road initiative.
India’s case as a net maritime security provider
- Indian Navy has the smallest share in defence budget – a mere 14 percent of all the three services. In contrast, the US Navy has the highest share of budget in their respective services. Even China has increased their share of budget for both Navy and Air Force.
- India should increase the ability of Andaman and Nicobar Command (the first and only tri-service command) to be fit for the purpose of providing security to the seas. It should be equipped and empowered in comparison to IPACOM and other similar navy commands.
- Unless India can enforce UNCLOS with its partners by a show of strength, it will not be able to instil confidence among the partners in the region.
Source – Livemint
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