“WE ARE MISSION READY”
Geopolitics|December 2021
Newly appointed CHIEF OF THE NAVAL STAFF (CNS) ADMIRAL R HARI KUMAR assumed command of the Indian Navy on November 30, 2021 as the 25th Chief of the Naval Staff. He succeeds Admiral Karambir Singh who retired after four decades plus of distinguished service. Admiral Hari Kumar was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command at Mumbai, prior to taking over as Chief. At the traditional Navy Chief’s media briefing a day before Indian Navy Day (December 4), he spoke in details on a wide range of subjects impacting the forces, specifically the navy. Below are the key points from that briefing.

The navy’s preparedness

Indian Navy has maintained combat and mission readiness and this resulted in preventing any misadventure in its maritime domain. Our mission-based deployment philosophy has enhanced the Indian Navy’s presence across the region enabling rapid responses to emerging security challenges.

In these testing times, the Indian Navy aims to stand steadfast in furthering our national and maritime interests. Our focus on maintaining combat and mission readiness resulted in deterring any misadventure in the maritime domain.

I want to assure you that the Indian Navy is a well-balanced force and is confident of defending India's maritime interests for sure.

Mission-based

Our mission-based deployment philosophy has enhanced the Indian Navy's presence across the region enabling rapid responses to emerging security challenges. The navy has established a persistent footprint in our areas of interests. The naval deployment also serves as a deterrent to inimical interests clearly signalling the navy's reach, capability and intent.

Reforms

The creation of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) is the biggest reform in the military since independence, along with the creation of the post of CDS. This enables faster decision-making and fewer layers of bureaucracy.

On China

When there were tensions at the northern borde0rs, our ships were out for mission-based deployment. (It) added to security challenges. We were forward deployed during the crisis along the Line of Actual Control and all other ships were ready for any escalation in the situation. We kept their (Chinese) ships under close surveillance, which we continue to do even now. Any of their ships coming on deployment, we keep a watch on them. We have our plans in place. There is constant surveillance by our aircraft and mission-based deployed ships. The Chinese activities and deployments are kept under close watch. We maintain a fairly good maritime domain awareness in our area of responsibility.

On theaterisation of the forces

(Navy) wholeheartedly supports the ongoing efforts to enhance tri-services integration. This enables faster decision-making and fewer layers of bureaucracy.

A detailed study (on theatre commands) was done. This had to be tried and war games are on as table top exercises. We are now in the third stage of the war gaming process. A third study to take this forward has been ordered by the DMA(Department of Military Affairs) and we are all working on this.

Jointness and integration can’t happen in a very, very short time. If you look at the US military, it has taken almost 50 years. The thrust for jointness came after the Pearl Harbour attack. I am not saying that we should take a similar time but it’s a complicated process, and it’s not something which can just be put together in a short time.

It may happen in six months, it may take a little longer. The timeframe will depend on how we address the complexities involved.

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