Maritime Security Current Affairs - 2020

India expands Indo-Pacific Policy; includes Gulf and Africa

At the end of the joint Indian Ocean Dialogue held in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister officially announced that India is planning to expand its Indo-Pacific policy. So far, the Indo-Pacific covered Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea. With the expansion, the region will now include Gulf states and Africa.

Indo Pacific

Indo-Pacific is a US construct that includes regions between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. According to the US, it ranges from the eastern shores of the African continent to the western shores of the US. The move of US was perceived to contain China’s military expansion in the region. In June 2018, PM Modi outlined India’s vision on the Indo-Pacific region while addressing the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Significance

The expansion will help India in its Act East Policy. It also clearly sets out message that India’s focus is more on the Indian Ocean element of the Indo-Pacific rather than Pacific Ocean element. This is because with the expansion of the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN becomes the geographical centre of a greater perimeter and becomes heart of Indo-Pacific. This will also help India in moving beyond cultural, historical and economic linkages.

GRSE hands over Landing Craft Utility amphibious ship to Indian Navy

Warship builder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) has delivered a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to Indian Navy. The LCU delivered is 7th out of eight such vessels being built for Indian Navy by GRSE, will add to India’s maritime security prowess.

About Landing Craft Utility (LCU)

LCU is an amphibious ship, that can transport and deploy main battle tanks, armoured vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. It can accommodate 216 personnel.

Features: It is 62.8 metres long, 11 metres wide and has a displacement of 830 tonnes, with a low draught of 1.7 metres. The ship has an ability to attain a maximum speed of 15 knots and is equipped with two indigenous CRN 91 guns to provide artillery fire support during landing operations.

LCU can also be deployed for multi-role activities such as disaster relief operations, search and rescue, supply and replenishment, beaching operations and evacuation from distant islands.

Background

The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mark IV class of ships, the first of which was commissioned into Indian Navy in 2016, are fitted with close to 90% indigenous equipment. The GRSE, one of India’s leading shipyards, located in Kolkata (West Bengal),  has so far manufactured 103 warships since its inception in 1960.