Almost impossible for any one country to ensure maritime security: Navy chief

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar on Wednesday said that it is almost impossible for any one country to ensure maritime security in the current context and like-minded countries must join hands to deal with the evolving challenges. “We are in a contested present and moving into an uncertain future,” he said pitching for a collaborative approach to combat the challenges. The Navy chief was speaking at an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue that was also joined by Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino, Gen Koji Yamazaki Chief of Staff, Joint Staff, Japan Self-Defense Forces, and Gen Angus Campbell, Chief of the Defence Force, Australia.

In his comments, Admiral Aquilino talked about the “no limits” friendship between Russia and China and said it was a matter of great concern as it could have security implications. The American commander said that NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) is increasing its strength in view of the Russian actions against Ukraine, and suggested that such a model could be followed for the Indo-Pacific as well. Admiral Aquilino said like-minded countries must develop “great deterrence” by utilising all forms of technology and national power in all domains to collectively deal with the security challenges.

“We need to prepare with a sense of urgency,” he said describing the Russian attack on Ukraine as the “most dangerous” in his lifetime”. The commander said there was a need for the countries in the Indo-Pacific to work together to deal with coercion. “This is a concerning time when seen from the lens of global security as is visible from the Russian aggression and the attitude of China.

We are cooperating with like-minded countries and becoming interoperable to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said. In his remarks, Admiral Kumar said it is “almost impossible for any one country to ensure maritime security. In fact, the concept of a thousand-ship navy including navies from various countries being pulled together to arrive at maritime security has been articulated.”

He, however, did not elaborate on it. Admiral Kumar said the character of war has changed but not its nature which is “brutal” and “gory”. He referred to what is happening in Ukraine.

The Navy Chief said India’s maritime engagement with countries of the region is based on principles of respect, dialogue, cooperation, peace and prosperity. “The five principles underline the way we interact with the region,” he said. Gen Yamazaki said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “clear violation” of the international rules-based order.

He said it is an example of the violation of the sovereignty as well as territorial integrity which is challenging the very foundation of the international order. “We must learn from this war. We should not allow any unilateral change of the status quo and that determination should be fully demonstrated.

We should acquire the capability to prevent any of those attempts,” he said. Gen Campbell also called for the comprehensive application of national powers by like-minded countries to deal with the growing challenges. “We are always stronger together,” he said.

The Chief of the Defence Force of Australia also described as “utter rubbish” Russia’s allegations of false flag operation by Ukrainian forces and Moscow’s attempt to paint Ukraine as the aggressor.

“It is a brutal conflict and the Ukrainians are fighting magnificently,” he said. 

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