New Delhi: – The Indian Ocean has become the centre of activity second to only the South China Sea, the centre for major upheavals. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said that India should provide an impetus to the economy of this marine region and increase its capabilities. The Defence Secretary is saying in other words that India should make preparations to counter the Chinese efforts to dominate the Indian Ocean region. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar was speaking at a function organised by the study group, Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies.
Currently, the South China Sea region is tensed, as China is claiming rights over the entire marine region. Therefore, all the other countries from the region have united against China and the United States, Japan and Australia are supporting these smaller countries. The US navy is patrolling the marine region along with the Australian Navy, challenging the bullying by China. The statement made by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar that the Indian Ocean region is becoming the centre of activity, second only to the tensed region of the South China Sea, is very suggestive. With this statement, Ajay Kumar is indicating that China is engaged in aggressive activities, even in the Indian Ocean region.
China has developed the technology for deep-sea fishing and the Chinese fishermen are exploiting it to the fullest potential. China has also systematically developed economy related to marine wealth. Indian fishers do not have the capability for deep-sea fishing, as the technology necessary for this is not available to them. They also don’t have a protective umbrella for such activities. Therefore, India has not been able to exploit the marine wealth to its full potential. But India will have to develop these capabilities in the future. Ajay Kumar said that India will have to take steps not only in the fisheries sector but also in the marine mining sector and for the exploitation of other marine wealth. The Defence Secretary expressed a hope that India will provide an impetus to the marine economy for this purpose. Ajay Kumar indicated that the Indian Navy will have an essential role in this. The Defence Secretary said that not only the Navy but the air force also will have to augment their capabilities in the marine region. The Defence Secretary seems to have presented the threats posed by aggressive Chinese activities, in the Indian Ocean region, in a very measured and suggestive language. The statements made by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, become Strategically significant, in view of the developments in the marine region, since the last few weeks.
China, taking advantage of the situation that all the countries in the world are busy fighting Coronavirus pandemic, is increasing its naval presence in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean. Reports regarding this had recently been published. But identifying the Chinese threat, the United States and Australia have increased their patrolling in the South China Sea region. Whereas, the Indian Navy is cautiously watching the Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean. It is becoming clear that India will have to adopt a more aggressive stand to protect the interest and security in this marine region and will have to confront China for the purpose. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar has presented the same issue in a very diplomatic language.