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China Delivers Largest Warship to Pakistan:

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Why in the news?

Recently, China has delivered its largest and most advanced warship to Pakistan, PNS Tughril.

Key Highlights:

  • The PNS Tughril is the first hull of four Type 054 frigates being constructed for the Pakistan Navy .
  •  The vessel is a technologically advanced and highly capable platform with enormous surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and underwater firepower, besides extensive surveillance potentials.
  • Besides the advanced naval ships, China also partners with the Pakistan Air Force to build JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft.
  • Besides building its first military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa in the Indian Ocean, China has acquired Pakistan's Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea which connects with China's Xinjiang province by land in the USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • China is also developing Sri Lanka's Hambantota port after it acquired it on 99 years' lease.
  • The Pakistan Navy has contracted the construction of four Type 054A/P frigates from China since 2017.

What are the threats for India?

  • Tughril-class frigates will strengthen Pakistan Navy's capabilities to respond to maritime challenges to ensure seaward defence, maintain peace, stability and balance of power in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The modernization of the Pakistan Navy coupled with the acquisition of the naval bases is expected to shore up the Chinese Navy's presence in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

Why is the Indian Ocean important?

  • The Indian Ocean is important for three reasons. First, it enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. 
  •  This represents an almost four-fold increase in the volume of commercial shipping since 1970.
  •  The energy flows through the Indian Ocean are of particular consequence. Some 36 million barrels per day—equivalent to about 40 percent of the world’s oil supply and 64 percent of oil trade travel through the entryways into and out of the Indian Ocean, including the Straits of Malacca and Hormuz and the Bab-el-Mandeb.
  • The Indian Ocean is rich in natural resources. 40 percent of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin.

What are the steps taken by India to enhance its dominance in the Indian ocean?

Engaging with countries:

  •  Engaging with countries beyond our shores with the aim of building greater trust and promoting respect for maritime rules, norms and peaceful resolution of disputes is one of the goals under SAGAR. India is working on a range of projects to improve maritime logistics in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles.

Enhancing capacities :

  •  To safeguard land and maritime territories and interests is a major focus under the SAGAR initiative. India has held multilateral naval exercises called Milan in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with 16 other countries and in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise.
  • The success of maritime cooperative action against piracy in the Gulf of Aden is an example of the benefits of a cooperative approach which resulted in a dramatic decline in piracy incidents in the region.
  • Other initiatives include the Kaladan transport project leading to Sittwe port in Myanmar, the Trilateral Highway to Thailand, and the Chabahar port project in Iran.

Importance of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for Indian security:

Resources:

  • India depends heavily on Indian Ocean resources for resources. Fishing and aquaculture industries are a major source of export as well as providing employment to more than 20 million people. 

Security threats:

  Militarily, the presence of a long coastline makes India vulnerable to potential threats emerging from the sea. One of the worst terrorist attacks in Mumbai was perpetrated by terrorists arriving by sea. India’s nuclear installations, coastal cities are at continuous threat from state and non-state actors. Thus, keeping an eye on the sea is important.

 

 

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