Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar emphasized the potential escalation of disputes in the Indo-Pacific region into conflicts during a media briefing ahead of Navy Day on December 4. With a focus on China's growing military assertiveness, he highlighted India's vigilance in monitoring Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean. The Admiral outlined the deployment of surveillance assets, including ships, aircraft, submarines, and drones, to observe the activities of both regional and extra-regional forces, as reported by PTI.
Addressing the broader challenges in the Indo-Pacific, Admiral Kumar stressed the need for collaboration among like-minded nations to ensure peace and stability. He acknowledged a spectrum of challenges, ranging from disputes to issues like illegal migration, fishing, piracy, drug trafficking, and climate change. Emphasizing the importance of dialogue, he underscored the necessity of maintaining peace and tranquility in the region while advocating for a rules-based approach to ocean usage.
Admiral Kumar recognized China's potential legitimate reasons for economic activities in the Indian Ocean but emphasized the importance of monitoring and understanding their presence as the resident naval power. He disclosed that the Indian Navy closely monitors Chinese activities, including the operation of six-to-eight ships, numerous fishing vessels, and research platforms in the Indian Ocean.
The Navy Chief reiterated the commitment of the Indian Navy to the government's 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India) approach. He expressed the Navy's dedication to achieving full self-reliance by 2047 in capabilities, capacities, and concepts, aligning with the strategic goals of the government. Admiral Kumar concluded by stating the Navy's ambition to evolve into a 170-ship Navy by 2035, with a primary focus on maintaining credible deterrence and readiness for naval warfare.