Countries operating in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) will feel the ripple effects of the great power rivalry intensifying in the western Pacific Ocean Region, Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Director General Naval Operations, said on Friday. He was alluding to naval operations by the US and China in the South China Sea, which is an arm of the western Pacific Ocean.
“There is considerable churn in the geopolitical situation in the IOR and broader Indo-Pacific. As great power rivalry intensifies in western Pacific, the IOR will feel its ripple effects. No doubt,” Tripathi said at a webinar. This will be a true test for our “military diplomatic outreach as we face the consequential opportunities and challenges”, he added. “We therefore have to continue playing an increasingly important role, not only for the security and prosperity of our nation, but also the larger Indian Ocean region,” he said.
The US has been regularly sending warships to South China region in the wake of China’s growing military assertiveness in the region. The latest incident between the two countries’ navies took place in South China Sea in August when China claimed it drove out an American warship from the disputed Paracel archipelago. On Thursday, the US military released a document warning that it would be more assertive in countering Chinese violations of the international law in the South China Sea.
The armies of India and China are locked in a tense border standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May. Both sides have held multiple rounds of military and diplomatic talks. However, no breakthrough has been achieved yet. Tripathi said: “India’s outlook towards the IOR is shaped by the civilisational ethos which stresses upon the greater good of humanity at large. The ancient Indian concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning the entire world is one family, is well ingrained in our polity and people and is also enshrined at the entrance of our Parliament.” “The navy engages in military diplomacy on four pillars, namely, capacity building, capability enhancement, cooperative engagements and collaborative efforts,” he stated.