From Kenya to Guam, India defines its sphere of interest in the Indo-Pacific with a series of naval exercises
By Atul Aneja
New Delhi, August 11: Anxious to demonstrate its sphere of interest primarily in the Indian Ocean, but also with a spur in the Pacific, the Indian Navy has carefully deployed its warships for exercises with like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
The state-of-the-art stealth frigate of the Indian Navy, Talwar has just completed its participation in the Cutlass Express 2021 of the East African coast of the Indian Ocean. The warship trained in massive multinational maneuvers led by the United States’ Africa Command. Participants included 12 East African countries, the United Kingdom, the European Union Naval Force in Somalia (EUNAVFOR), Critical Indian Ocean Sea Lanes (CRIMARIO), EUCAP Somalia and Interpol, with the exception of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),
The exercise was a combined effort to improve familiarity with the waters of the Indian Ocean in a critical area stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Gulf of Aden – a preferred route for commercial shipping to Europe , Africa and Asia. International concerns have intensified as this region has been hit hard by piracy and international terrorism, which has triggered the need for international collaboration.
This year, the exercise took place near Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar and the Seychelles – areas of major interest to India.
These maneuvers follow the visit to Kenya in June by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, S. Jaishankar. India, during this visit, discussed the security situation in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Horn of Africa, in particular the rise of international terrorism in the riparian states.
“Kenya is indeed India’s maritime neighbor and is an important player in the geopolitics of the Western Indian Ocean. In addition, like India, it is a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2021-2022 term. Therefore, EAM’s visit to Kenya is an opportunity for India to engage on a range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues, ”said Sankalp Gurjar, researcher at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) in an article published in India Narrative ahead of Jaishankar’s visit.
After identifying Kenya as a partner in the Indian Ocean, New Delhi strengthened its special relationship with Nairobi by deploying the Talwar in a separate exercise with Kenya following the maneuvers of the Cutlass Express.
The Indian warship served with the Kenyan navy ship Shujaa off the port of Mombasa.
“Following the conclusion of Exercise Cutlass Express 2021, INS Talwar has entered into a maritime partnership with Kenyan navy vessel Shujaa,” an Indian Navy spokesperson tweeted in Mumbai.
The Indian Ministry of Defense said Talwar’s visit would strengthen “India’s commitment to the countries of the East Coast of Africa and the West IOR.”
While the Talwar was engaged in maneuvers in the western Indian Ocean, two other warships were en route to Brunei, also marking India’s stakes across the Strait of Malacca into part of the western Pacific.
While in Brunei, Indian ships participated in an exercise with ships of the Royal Brunei Navy.
“Indian warships Shivalik and Kadmatt arrived in Muara, Brunei, as part of their deployment to Southeast Asia on Aug. 9, 21,” India’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Both ships belong to the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy. Based in Visakhapatnam under the command of the Eastern Naval Command, the fleet has acquired great importance in accordance with the Indian policy of Act East, centered on ASEAN.
From Brunei, ships will head to Guam, for much larger Malabar-21 exercises with the United States, Japan and Australia.
The Malabar-21 off Guam, which is the headquarters of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has a message for China, which is flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, straddling disputes with several countries belonging to the 10th nation. ASEAN. But Indian officials insist that India’s visible presence from the East African coast in Guam is an elaboration of the inclusive doctrine summarized by the acronym SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
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2021-08-11-15: 15: 04