The first edition of this year’s bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference was held in New Delhi from 8 to 11 May 2018. It discussed aspects concerning country’s maritime security, analyse mission-based deployments and larger issues of geo-strategic Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a region witnessing increasing Chinese presence.
During the conference, top echelons of Indian Navy reviewed its new Mission-Based Deployments philosophy aimed at ensuring peace and stability in the region. The new deployment philosophy is in furtherance of Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It aims at sustained, peaceful and yet responsive presence of Indian Naval ships in critical areas and choke points.
It also examined various measures taken to improve combat efficiency, including new transition cycle for ships for transition from maintenance periods through training phase and thereon to full scale operations will be examined at conference. Indian Navy’s focus over past year has been on combat efficiency and materiel readiness, and upkeep of its large fleet of 131 ships and submarines.
It also reviewed measures to ensure safety, continued training, and checks and balances on crew proficiency on-board its frontline warships. It also undertook review of overhaul of training standards of units by revamping ‘Ship Operating Standards (SHOPS)’. The new SHOPS will be unveiled shortly and it focuses on Role-based training in realistic scenarios and sets standards to be met by units as also targets individual crew proficiency levels.
It also deliberated upon steps to improve Teeth-to-Tail ratio and explore niche fields such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics. Moreover, it also focused on harnessing cutting-edge technology, specifically those ‘Made-in-India’, to improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency.
Indian Ocean is considered the backyard of Indian Navy. It is critical to India’s strategic interests. Over the years, the region has witnessed increasing Chinese presence. China increased its presence in IOR by constructing deep-sea Gwadar Port in southern Pakistan and naval base in Djibouti in Horn of Africa. The region also has seen increase in deployment of Chinese ships for anti-piracy operations.