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OSINT Report – Indian Navy Mission Based Deployment, Replicating US Navy?

Published Jun 09, 2020
Updated Jun 09, 2020

Mission Based Deployment appears to be the new mantra for the Indian Navy. A review of the Indian Navy’s readiness “to deploy over the entire range of missions in the maritime domain (the new Mission-based Deployment Concept),” was carried out during the recently concluded Naval Commanders Conference as per a Press Information Bureau release.

That the Indian Navy has adopted an operational profile of round the clock missions in the Indian Ocean Region is also evident with the remarks by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the Naval Commanders conference.  She has, “acknowledged the high operational tempo maintained by the Navy in the last one year through regular deployment of ships, submarines and aircraft from the South China Sea and Sea of Japan in the East to the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean in the West and the shores of Australia in the South including the focused efforts to deter piracy attempts off the Gulf of Aden”.

In addition the Navy is also participating in numerous exercises with a tri-service joint service manoeuvre Exercise Indra in Russia while it has also participated in Exercise Malabar with the US and the Japanese Navy which was much larger in scope.

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Mission based Development concept entails a mix of operational and non operational missions. On the operational front it would involve surveillance of the Indian Ocean Region essentially the critical sea lanes of communications and choke points. It would also include Coordinated Patrolling or CORPAT carried out with other navies such as the Indonesian Navy with which an exercise is on at present. This involves joint surveillance of the IMBL between the two countries. Mission Based Deployment will also facilitate the counter piracy role.

Constant surveillance of choke points and India’s EEZ also assumes importance which will include the Malacca Strait, the Andaman Sea, Lakshadweep and the IOR to Maldives in the South.

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response is also assisted through Mission Based Deployment. Indian Navy could respond with alacrity to assist Maldives for instance during the crisis over potable water, Sri Lanka during the disasters and also Bangladesh providing material for refugee sustenance with the streaming of large number of Rohingya from Myanmar in August September.

Naval Commanders’ Conference Concludes

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR) mission fructifies in full measure the security envelope will also require round the clock deployment.

The United States Navy employs the concept of round the clock missions by Task Forces based on carrier groups to sustain national interest in various parts of the globe.

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Presently there are Two Task Forces operating with the Seventh Fleet and will be deployed in North East Asian waters focused on North Korea as the US President Donald Trump visits this region in the coming weeks.

India Navy has reportedly evolved a cycle of training, maintenance and safety inspection of ships before these are deployed in the Mission Based concept given the past experience of number of accidents that had resulted in the resignation of Admiral D K Joshi who is presently the Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar. Thus balancing serviceability and safety assumes importance. The United States Seventh Fleet operational tempo suffered with a series of accidents recently and this lesson apart from the Navy’s own experience assumes importance.

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The Mission Based Concept appears to be a natural progression in assuming a larger role in security of the IOR or being the, “net provider of security,” and need not be presumed to be China centric as some analysts have suggested.