HomeIndia NewsUS-China Rivalry A Marathon, Indo-Pacific Seeing Great Power Competition: Navy Chief

US-China Rivalry A Marathon, Indo-Pacific Seeing Great Power Competition: Navy Chief

Naval head Admiral R Hari Kumar on Monday expressed worries over escalating geo-political power play in the Indo-Pacific and remarked that the US-China contest in the area is going to be a “marathon”, news agency PTI reported.

Admiral Kumar highlighted the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific in the global geostrategic calculus in an address to the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), referring to a large number of countries releasing their respective strategies for the region, despite the fact that some of them do not belong to it.

According to the Navy chief, the region’s competition between the United States and China has resulted in an arms race.

“A large number of countries have come out with their Indo-Pacific strategy and many of them do not belong to the region as well. The Indo-Pacific as a geostrategic reality is also accompanied by the return of great power competition,” he was quoted by PTI in its report.

Admiral Kumar believes the US-China conflict will continue and that it will be a “long marathon” that they are involved in.

“This has led inevitably to an arms race between the West and China quite similar perhaps to the pre-World War I era between the allied and the central powers,” he said.

“For instance China has inducted 148 warships over the last 10 years which is, I would say, nearly the entire Indian Navy’s size and the process still continues,” he said.

“So this arms race has made our resource-rich region an arena for jostling for influence, markets, resources and energy among others,” he said.

Notwithstanding the jostling, the naval chief stated that the closely linked web of economic linkages requires a certain amount of collaboration among these very governments.

“The simultaneous competition and cooperation accentuates the complexities of security. While much has been said about the ongoing conflict in Europe, the fact is that despite extensive sanctions by the West on Russia most of Europe continues to receive Russian energy which underscores that even during conflicts, it is unlikely that states can be completely devoid of mutual dependencies,” he said.

The chief of naval operations also discussed the continuing modernization of the three services.

Admiral Kumar stated that the Indian armed forces are planning to strengthen in order to meet future challenges. According to the naval chief, the armed services are “reorganising and reorienting” for the future.

He noted the creation of the Department of Military Affairs, the nomination of the Chief of Defence Staff, the implementation of the Agnipath recruiting programme, and the theaterisation plan to promote jointness among the three services as positive developments.

“However, notwithstanding the continued evolution of the services and the overall national security architecture, I must say that silos still exist,” he said.

Admiral Kumar stated that overcoming such organisational lethargy was critical.

“Time is at a premium and we need to move fast,” he said.

The head of the naval staff also emphasised India’s marine nature.

“I feel the maritime character of our nation is now shaping our overall outlook and is probably gaining the recognition that it deserves,” he said.

“The interplay between maritime security and India’s prosperity is becoming probably more clear to the polity, policymakers and the people of India,” he said.

“Thus maritime India is on the rise and the tides of time demand that we grab this opportunity to sail out in these high waters,” he said. 

(With Inputs From PTI)

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