Indian Navy kept Chinese Navy under check: Vice Admiral

Action during the incursion on LAC

The Indian Navy played a key role in ‘deterring’ the PLA (Navy) at sea in the wake of China’s aggressive posturing on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the message “has gone across to them very unambiguously not to mess with us either at sea or on land”, Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, has revealed.

“In response to what happened on the northern border, the Navy did portray its deterrent capability at sea. The Navy is a silent service… and once you sail over the horizon nobody knows what happens, except those who have communication systems on the ships. The Navy did play a very important role in deterring the PLA(Navy) at that time and the message has gone across to them very unambiguously that they cannot mess with us either at sea, or for that matter, on land,” the Vice Admiral said in response to a question during a media interaction on board training ship INS Shardul.

Strong capabilities

Vice Admiral Chawla added that the Chinese aggression has give impetus to the ongoing plans of the Indian Navy to build on its strengths, operational capabilities, force-levels, partnerships, human resources and intelligence.

Earlier, he said since India had friendly ties with all countries in the region except two, the Indian Navy has been collaborating and cooperating with these navies operating in the region. “They welcome our strengths and indeed see us as a predominant force in the region. The oceans are so vast that no one country can look after them for the international community,” he said.

Domain awareness

The Navy, he said, maintains comprehensive maritime domain awareness not just with its own resources but in collaboration with a number of friendly foreign countries operating in the region, to ward off any threat.

On the just-concluded exercise Malabar which saw participation by India, the U.S., Japan and Australia (after a gap of over a decade), the Vice Admiral said it is an advanced multilateral exercise that benefits all participating navies.

“This strengthens our capability and builds among the four countries. We are four important democracies in the Indo-Pacific region and therefore, the concert of democracies increases against authoritarian and dictatorial regimes that are there, some of whom we face,” he said.

Private sector’s role

Vice Admiral Chawla said that the setbacks faced by the Navy in getting purpose-built cadet training vessels and naval offshore patrol vessels should not discourage it from involving the private sector in defence shipbuilding.

The under-construction indigenous aircraft carrier, he said, is set to have its sea trials in the first half of next year followed by flight trials in the latter half. It will be commissioned either in end-2021 or early 2022, he added.

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