Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar on Tuesday said “a war with potential adversaries can never be ruled out”. He sought investments in the Navy to meet maritime challenges from China and Pakistan and for trade as well.
In his keynote address for the plenary session on ‘India’s Naval Revolution: Becoming an Ocean Power’ at the 49th National Management Convention of All Management Association, Admiral Kumar said, “China remains a formidable challenge and has increased its presence, not only along our land borders but also in the maritime domain by leveraging anti-piracy operations to normalise its naval presence in the Indian Ocean Region.”
The Navy chief also commented that “Pakistan — despite economic constraints — has continued its military modernisation, especially its Navy, which is on track to becoming a 50-platform force”. He also talked about other threats emanating such as terrorism, piracy, arms and drug smuggling, and illegal immigration that invoke the Navy’s constabulary role and, thereby, expand its responsibilities further.
Admiral Kumar argued that future wars will not only include the high seas but straddle multiple domains. “The battlefield will transcend physical boundaries. It will be fought over the seas, on land, in the air, in the information domain, in the digital world, and even in our minds,” he said.
He described the Navy’s preparedness through the approach of remaining “a combat-ready — credible, cohesive and future-proof force”. Elaborating on self-reliance initiatives that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been insisting on, the Navy Chief expressed his wish by stating that “our aim is to be fully AatmaNirbhar by 2047”.
Investing back into the economy
“...We have always endeavoured to re-invest a large share of our budget back into the Indian economy. About 88 per cent of our future contracts on a cost basis, amounting to investments of nearly ₹1,75,000 crore are being progressed through Indian enterprises. This means that for every ₹10 crore spent, about ₹9 crore is invested back into our economy,” he claimed.
For future-proofing, he said the Navy is trying to leverage niche and disruptive technologies. The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) is currently in consultation with around 120 start-ups for induction of niche technology in unmanned and autonomous systems, secure communication, smart weapons, surveillance and imaging, etc, added Admiral Kumar.