Commodore (Dr) Johnson Odakkal (I.N. Retd) & Swastika Jadhav
#NavyDay22 unfolds a sense of multi-spectral oceanscape of domain influence and pride for #MaritimeIndia. The calendar year 2022 in the national celebration of #AzadikaAmritMahotsav is Semisesquicentennial moment of Indian Dominion status. As a proud inheritor of a multi-millennial legacy this year saw a victorious trio of celebration. September 2nd, 2022 was an opportunity for CEO JOI to debut on national television for commissioning of INS Vikrant. Later at the end of November 2022 a special visit to INS Visakhapatnam and INS Vela enabled a three-dimensional experience of Indian Naval Capability & Competence.
In this season paeans will be sung in tribute to our rich Naval History. As Team JOI has traversed recent weeks engagements in naval strategy, research methodology, climatology and culture in maritime history and more across multiple cities, its apt to cast our vision to the emerging Amrit Kaal! Swastika and I share a few thoughts in this context.
In August 1947, the newly constituted sovereign state of India had already seen young Indian Naval pioneers envision plans to build a powerful navy and establish influence in the Indian Ocean. The erstwhile INS Vikrant, formerly HMS Hercules was commissioned on March 4, 1961. It served as a forerunner of the Indian Navy's Fleet Air Arm and carrier-borne aviation. At the same time the original execution of Aatma Nirbharta was in delivery of INS Ajay by Hindustan Shipyard, Visakhapatnam in 1961. Today the Indian Navy can unquestionably be described as a visionary force and growing as a self-reliant maritime force.
Admiral R Harikumar, Chief of Naval Staff has highlighted the techno-efficient future ready combat competence of the Indian Navy. Unmanned autonomous vehicles, or UAVs, are being developed for use in a variety of maritime operations as a result of modern technological breakthroughs and common worldwide marine concerns. This technological segment is capable of identifying the crucial elements that will make up the future naval battle space. The Indian Navy's "Unmanned Roadmap" was unveiled by Shri Rajnath Singh, India's Defence Minister, at the Naval Commanders Conference in December 2021 itself. This demonstrated the growing significance of unmanned technologies and platforms in naval—or, for that matter, military—operations of the future and the need to give them the priority attention they deserve. It also showed the importance of having a clear plan for the future with specific goals in mind.
India recently approved plans to buy 40 Naval Unmanned Aerial Systems (NUAS) for warships that are longer than 100 metres. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Indian Navy indicated in a Request for Information (RFI) issued on June 29, 2022, that the NUAS would be utilised for surveillance tasks such as signals intelligence (SIGINT), target acquisition, surveillance, and maritime domain awareness surrounding a naval task force. The supplementary duties would assist with SAR, anti-piracy, and anti-terrorist operations, the MoD further claimed in the RFI paper. The potential for the Indian Navy to rapidly deploy a ship-based drone in the future is certainly a benefit.
The Indian Navy's latest strategic frontier is artificial intelligence. With a "Capability-Enhancement-Objective (C-E-O)" to improve situational awareness and situational reactions during maritime operations, the Indian Navy is serious about AI and other cutting-edge intelligent technology. In that context, AI is a significant determinant for future fights and has the potential to influence the internal dynamics of the war as a whole.
The emerging geopolitical developments indicate that the Indian Navy's influence and role in IOR will continue to expand into new frontiers and missions. The Indian Navy has shown active involvement in joint military exercises and combat drills. Arrival of China's third generation research and survey ship "Yuan Wang 5" in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, is proof that the extra-regional entities are seeking to expand their footprint in the IOR. The Indo-Pacific theatre will be the future of global geopolitical engagements. The INIP (Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan) 2015-2030 is developed to enhance the state-of-the-art with high-end technologies in order to increase the Indian Navy's war-capabilities through a robust indigenous technological ecosystem.
India's enduring nautical traditions give it a key edge to increase maritime domain presence across the Indo-Pacific Theatre. In the current context, India's human capital in the navy and merchant marine arena is likely to grow to be among the top three in the world. The commissioning of INS Vikrant has made India to be among a powerful group of countries that can independently produce an indigenous aircraft carrier. That is just the beginning. With focus on green shipbuilding and autonomous vehicle research India is set to unwrap a dynamic visionary voyage.
As we join our hearts to wish every serving sea warrior and the amazing skippers of every Indian Naval Unit a Happy #NavyDay22 may we be the instrument of pride at our nation as an emerging mighty maritime one. It is what our geography projects. It is the vision that we need to receive as an inspiration from the Indian Navy.
Jai Hind! जय हिन्द
Sam Noh Varunah! शं नो वरुणः