NEW DELHI: Rise of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) foray into the Indian Ocean region has propped up Indian initiatives to raise the surveillance capacity into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and it includes assistance to the neighbouring nations to raise their capacity of surveillance.
Informing of the initiatives, source informed, “We are in discussion with the Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh to assist them in building their capacity of surveillance along their coasts.” In fact, the discussion with the Bangladesh is in advanced stage and there can be 12 more countries of the region where India will extend support in building such capacity, added the source.
India has already assembled Chain of Coastal Surveillance Radars along the coasts of Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles.
The proposals are part of the military diplomacy under which chain of radars is erected with Indian assistance which help in getting seamless video feed and surveillance of the activities along the coasts.
Chinese have increased their all kinds of activities in the region be it the PLAN ships or the fishing trawlers. “At present there are three Chinese survey ships operating into the IOR. One has recently entered the area, and one is on its way back towards China.” confirmed the source. “There used to be around 300 Chinese fishing ships into the area which have now risen to 450 the last year.”
India had laid down a chain of coastal surveillance radar post the 26/11 mumbai terrorist attack in which 166 people had lost their lives. The live feed from these 46 radars, on mainleand coasts and the island territory, is relayed to the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurgaon, Haryana. It is collated, processed and analysed and is distributed to the concerned agencies for information and action.
India has the go ahead for White Shipping Agreement with 36 countries and 3 multi-national constructs. Of these agreements have been done with 22 countries and one multi-national construct and among them the process has been operationalized with the 17 countries and the multi-national construct.
India will get all the related information and in turn will share the relevant information with the nations having agreement. White shipping agreement allows sharing and exchange of information regarding identity and movement of non-military commercial vessels.
“We will also be assisting the neighbouring countries in getting such feeds for their improved maritime domain awareness.” said the source.
India has also setup Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region in the IMAC Campus where liaison officers (LO) from the friendly foreign countries are permanently based. At present there are LOs from the US, Japan and France and more from Australia, Singapore and Italy will be joining as soon as the COVID-19 related international restrictions ease.