Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)
The recently held Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue in Delhi evoked a very enthusiastic response from diverse quarters connected with the maritime domain; representatives from across the globe descended at the Manekshaw Centre (Delhi) to participate in the event. It amply demonstrated that the ‘Indo-Pacific’ represents, for India, a geopolitical unity of littoral and island States whose shores are lapped either by the Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean. India’s geography lends itself favourably to the cultivation and expansion of maritime ties even though the country has somewhat overlooked these opportunities. As the world reengages with its vast ocean spaces, India, too, has become more willing and capable of participating in the maritime domain. India’s rich maritime geography has a 7,517-km-long coastline with nine coastal states that are home to a number of ports handling almost 1,400 million tonnes of cargo annually. Being peninsular, India’s maritime linkages have historically involved trade, religion, and culture. These associations, however, were severed over time especially after independence when the focus of India’s foreign outreach had become almost entirely continental. India accorded greater attention to its maritime position after the economic reforms in the 1990s. In more recent years the focus on maritime capacity development and outreach has grown manifold. That has also gradually ushered in greater awareness about maritime security and the need to have a strong Navy to protect our maritime interests. Mr Modi’s initiatives related to SAGAR and IPOI (Indo Pacific Oceans Initiative) encapsulate India’s strategy and resolve to play a larger role to promote regional peace, and growth and maintaining rule-based order.
The Indian Navy continues to evolve, modernise and train itself to meet the ever increasing challenges. The Navy also deserves to be applauded for successfully realising the goal of indigenisation with sustained policy initiatives. In his interview with the magazine, the Indian Navy Chief elaborated upon a number of issues related to the Navy’s increasing strategic responsibilities and efforts to fulfil them all.
This issue carries interesting features on modern warfare, DefExpo 2022 and an update on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. An essay on Indian MoD’s efforts on Aatmanirbharta by Surana Associates is interesting.
We are introducing a new column on the Indian space sector, consisting of snippets of all the action in the Indian space domain. Considering the importance of space in the years and decades to come, this will be an interesting ‘space’ to watch. I wish to thank the Indian Space Association (ISpA) and its DG, Lt Gen Anil Bhat for making it happen.
Finally, our thanks to our patrons, sponsors, authors and readers for all the support and encouragement extended to us during the year. In turn, we promise to keep up the standards and improve further.