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...After reports emerged last week that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe would propose a four-way dialogue between the US, Japan, Australia and India during President Donald Trump’s visit to Tokyo this week, there is speculation in New Delhi that the new “quad” might seek to counter Chinese naval power in Asia. Indian analysts say New Delhi might be willing to experiment with the idea of a countervailing alliance if it addresses India’s power imbalance with China. India’s expansion of the Malabar Exercises to include the Japanese navy and the reinvigoration of defence ties with Tokyo and Canberra, they suggest, is a sign that Indian policymakers are amenable to the idea of hard-balancing in Asia. Yet, the prospects for an Indo-Pacific “concert of democracies” in maritime Asia aren’t strong. A closer look at emerging naval dynamics in Asia makes clear that the maritime “quad” isn’t still a wholly viable proposition. ...Live Mint on Nov. 9, 2017, 12:03 a.m.
...The port has been controversial ever since the China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPort) signed a framework agreement in December 2016 with Sri Lanka, taking an 80% stake in the project. Following the deal, however, there was much domestic unrest and accusations by Sri Lanka’s opposition parties of a sell-out to China, forcing Colombo to reconsider its position. Sri Lanka also recognized regional concerns that Chinese control of Hambantota would result in its greater use by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). In particular, Colombo empathized with a growing sense in New Delhi that China’s expanding naval presence in South Asia represented a deliberate violation of India’s strategic redlines. Sri Lankan leaders say the new deal corrects all that was wrong with the 2016 agreement. ...Live Mint on Aug. 16, 2017, 3:12 a.m.
...Indeed, with over 20 ships, including two submarines and over 100 aircraft and helicopters involved in complex manoeuvres, the strategic messaging to China seemed more than clear. Notably, Indian commentators cast Malabar as a strategic precursor to a more proactive sea-denial strategy aimed at challenging People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean. More From Livemint » In the run-up to Malabar, the media had reported a “surge” in Chinese naval presence in the subcontinental littorals. ...Live Mint on July 20, 2017, 6:33 a.m.
...The most prominent of these tasks has been humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), aimed at helping populations in coastal areas survive natural calamities. Since the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004, when giant waves originating in the waters off Sumatra submerged huge swathes of coastal South and South-East Asia, disaster relief has formed an important part of the broader mission-set of maritime forces. The Indian Navy has played a leading role in humanitarian operations in the Indian Ocean littorals. ...Live Mint on June 14, 2017, 12:53 a.m.
...Though seemingly well argued, Iyer-Mitra’s piece reveals a misjudgement of the essence of naval operations, as well as a lack of appreciation of the political objectives maritime power is meant to further. In over half a century of naval development, maritime forces have based their combat strategy and modernization on two principal concepts of operations: “sea control” and “sea denial”. A maritime power either dominates the adversary by controlling the littoral seas or denies their use to the adversary. Sea control is the strategy of choice for an ascendant force but entails a higher operational commitment in dictating the tempo of operations in littoral spaces over prolonged durations. ...Live Mint on March 24, 2017, 12:32 a.m.