India should develop capabilities to fully monitor the Indian Ocean region in a complete and three-dimensional manner, said Avinash Chander, DRDO director general and scientific advisor to the Defence Minister.
He opined that India should develop 80-110 satellites to cover the region.
“There are 19 Chinese satellites keeping a watch over the Indian Ocean. We need to develop capabilities for complete monitoring of the region,” he said.
Underlining the need to develop real-time data exchange and image transfer, Avinash said underwater navigation and seabed mapping would be vital in this regard. He was speaking after inaugurating Sympol 2013, a symposium on ocean electronics organised by Cochin University’s electronics department, here on Wednesday.
Later speaking to reporters, he said India should have 80-110 satellites to ensure the complete surveillance and monitoring of the Indian Ocean region. “We need to identify every movement in the region, and should have the ability to pinpoint it. There should be 80-100 satellites, maybe of a limited life, which can be deployed. They should be ready-to-use ones which can be launched within a short time,” he said.
Avinash said the proximity of the Indian Ocean was both an opportunity and a threat. Considering the untapped resources and energy, transit routes for 70 per cent of the global trade in oil, and navigational access to 50 per cent of international shipping, ocean technology helps in harvesting the potential of the region.
“The Indian Ocean region witnessed a steep increase in global terrorism, with many regional organisations covertly and inadvertently aiding and abetting subversive elements. The region is the hotbed of international crime, with the most incidents of piracy, and human and drug trafficking taking place in its waters,” he said.
Avinash said sensors that make possible measurements of physical, chemical and biological processes are also required to be developed. Underwater sensor networks would be required for monitoring daily ocean life, emergency events for military purposes and environmental research in future, he said.
Avinash said the government should invest to strengthen R&D in this field. “Researchers should take up initiatives and develop systems which can make harvesting of resources easier,” he added.