Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)

The growing Chinese belligerence in our oceanic neighborhood, the South China Sea, brings maritime security into sharp focus. The recent trilateral meeting of NSA AjitDoval with Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka and Defence Minister of Maldives on maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean region, held after a gap of six years, further underscores the importance of secure oceans.

Maritime strategy involves many functions of state power that include diplomacy, safety and defence of merchant trade, fishing, exploitation, conservation, regulation and defence of the EEZ at sea, coastal defence, security of national borders, the protection of offshore islands, as well as participation in regional and world-wide concerns relating to the use of oceans, the skies over the oceans and the land under the seas. The navy serves this purpose.

As we celebrate the Navy Day on 04 December in commemoration of Operation Trident (the attack launched on Karachi harbour during 1971’s Indo-Pak war), a substantial part of this issue is dedicated to maritime strategy and the Indian Navy. We interviewed Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, who spoke with us in a frank and forthright manner on India’s Maritime Security and the gradually expanding signature of the Indian Navy. National Maritime Foundation (NMF) of India, with whom the magazine enjoys a close relationship, has also contributed a number of articles to enrich this Nov-Dec issue. V Adm Pradeep Chauhan, DG NMF, as always, led the way penning a detailed account of recently held Exercise Malabar and its significance.

Other than maritime affairs, this issue is particularly strong on geo-strategy. A detailed commentary on Indo-US relations by Gen Hasnain, an outstanding analysis of Russia’s growing power by Gen Sanjiv Langer and a delightful account of complexity of Indo – Nepal relations by young Rasika Joshi, are worth every minute of your time. Pakistan, too, receives adequate attention through the articles written by Gen Saighal and Ajay Singh.

As an eventful 2020 draws to an end, I also take this opportunity to thank all our patrons, contributors, readers,  well-wishers — and Team Defstrat in particular- for your unflinching support during difficult times.

Stay safe, Stay fit.