China shaping the maritime battlefield: Indian Navy Chief
New Delhi, Dec 02: Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, on Saturday said the Indian Navy is not Pakistan or China-centric, but was capability driven and committed to developing capabilities to protect the maritime interests of the nation.
He dismissed threats from the Chinese nuclear submarines, saying it was not in their interest to be operating in Indian waters.
In his maiden media interaction after assuming charge as Naval Chief, Admiral Mehta said: Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“China we believe is shaping the maritime battle field in the region. It is making friends at the right places. If you donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t have the capability to operate in those waters, for a length of time, then you need friends who will support your cause, when the time comes, so definitely China is doing that, as there are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and down below Africa. So it is a known fact that we are ringed by states, which may have a favourable disposition towards China. They are looking 20 years ahead.Ă˘â‚¬Âť
Mehta, who took over as the Naval Chief on November 1, said Pakistan had the Agosta submarine which had similar capability to that of the Scorpene submarine, which the Indian Navy was developing.
Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“The only new thing Pakistan brought into these waters is a submarine launched missile that changed the tactics and warfare in this region quite a bit. It has no longer a directional threat, but has become a unidirectional threat; therefore the anti-submarine tactics had to change,Ă˘â‚¬Âť added Mehta.
Mehta, an aviator, also spoke about the forthcoming projects of the Navy, and applauded the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), for their BrahMos missile, saying that in future all ships of the Navy would have them.
Commenting on the recent remarks of the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil about coastal threats to offshore oil rigs and other coastal assets of the country and terrorist infiltration from the sea route, he said that surveillance is of prime importance to the Indian Navy, and it is being heightened by means of electronic warfare system, long range maritime patrol aircraft, radars and UAVs.
The Navy is looking at a fairly new concept, that of a rotary wing UAV, which is operational only in the US as of now, and has plans of acquiring 12 in the near future. The Chetak helicopter would be modified as a rotary wing UAV by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Admiral Mehta added.
Navy Day is celebrated on December 4. Since 1971, the event has been observed to commemorate the Indian NavyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s successful bombing of Pakistani ships and shore-based units in and off the port of Karachi.