Indian Navy was a strengthening force in the maritime domain during the Galwan Valley crisis and its deployments had a certain impact on the land border talks with China, a top official said on Friday. Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commandingin-Chief (FOC-in-C), Western Naval Command, told reporters here that military cooperation between China and Pakistan was also a matter of concern.
There is a marked shift in the Pakistan Navy, he said, adding Islamabad has been ramping up its naval assets which have to be factored in the overall strategy. Asked about the changed dynamics for the Western Naval Command after tensions on the northern border, Vice Admiral Singh said, You are well aware of the Galwan crisis and what happened thereafter. I think most of the time people forget Navy's role in the resolution of this crisis to a certain extent.
My view is that you have to make sure that a person gets troubled if somebody pokes at his weakness, he said. The Western Naval Command oversees the crucial Sea Lanes of Communication — the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean Region — used for trade and energy supply by many countries including China. I think the Indian Navy was the strengthening force in the maritime domain. And that's what we tried to do. And whatever operations we did at sea had a certain impact on the land border and discussions thereafter, he said.
Twenty Indian Army personnel, including a Colonel, were killed during a violent clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan valley in June last year. Asked to elaborate on the Navy's role after the Galwan conflict, Vice Admiral Singh declined to comment. Let it be there as it is. When the time comes, you will know. We can talk at a later stage. Some of these (details) are classified, so I would not like to discuss it here.
But certainly, a big effort was put in by the Indian Navy in the maritime domain which had a certain impact on the behaviour and negotiations that took place elsewhere, he said. China is building a big navy and the Indian Navy is conscious of this (development), he said. They are making faster and bigger ships and they are going to be in the Indian Ocean not too far in the distant future, he added.
A large number of Chinese vessels, including warships, research vessels, underwater survey vessels, and that country's armed fishing militia, called the People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia, operate in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy is monitoring the presence of every Chinese vessel which is in the Indian Ocean Region, Vice Admiral Singh said. We know where they are and we let them know where we are. That's all an important part of the process. We are monitoring them on a regular basis and our intent is to keep them under full surveillance all the time. Once that is completed, we will take a call as to how we are going to take this in future, he said.
There are a lot of assets required for this surveillance, he said. The recent induction of P-8I long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft manufactured by Boeing for the Indian Navy is going to help on this front, he added. Of course, we need more assets at sea and that is why the mission-based requirement pays off, he said.
Pakistan Navy has had very few ships, he said, adding most of them were second hand and therefore their capabilities were finite. Now there is a marked shift in the thought process of Pakistan, he said, adding with new ships, it is going to newer equipment and capability.
We have to factor all this in our operations, overall strategy and look forward to how we are going to counter this in future, he said.