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How India’s Kavach will add to China’s Malacca Dilemma

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New Delhi, Jan 22: China’s apprehension is that major naval powers are controlling the Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia as a result of which vital supply lines are interdicted. More than 80 per cent of China’s oil imports pass through the 350 km strait that connects the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

How India’s Kavach will add to China’s Malacca Dilemma

China’s industrial expansion relies heavily on energy, particularly oil. In 2017 China became the world’s largest importer of oil surpassing the US and approximately 70 per cent of the country’s oil requirements were satisfied through imports in 2018 with the US Department of Commerce expecting this to grow to about 80 per cent by 2040. In an article, the Berkeley Political Review said that this dependance on foreign oil to run the country’s giant economic machine created what is known as The Malacca Dilemma, coined in 2003 by then president, Hu Jintao.

Indian Military’s Kavach is a message to Beijing that Indian Ocean Region isn’t South China Sea

Next week, the Indian Military will execute high intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andam Sea and Bay of Bengal in an exercise. Codenamed Kavach or shield.

The military drill will be coordinated by the Port Blair based Andaman and Nicobar Command. The defence ministry announced on Thursday that the exercise will be carried out next week to fine-tune joint war fighting capabilities and sharpen operational synergy between the three services.

This exercise comes at a time when India is locked in a standoff with China in eastern Ladakh. This exercise holds a lot of significance as China is trying to open multiple routes to the Indian Ocean. .In a statement, the Defence Ministry said,”the exercise will involve synergised application of maritime surveillance assets, coordinated air and maritime strikes, air defence, submarine and landing operation.”

India’s focus continues to remain on China’s rising ambitions in the region. The message India wants to send out that Beijing’s power play cannot be replicated in the Indian Ocean.

The scope of this exercise will cover Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). This would involve the military’s technical, electronic and human intelligence elements. “The ISR exercise will validate the capabilities of intelligence gathering from space, air, land and sea-based assets/sensors, its analysis and sharing to achieve battlefield transparency for quick decision making at different stages of operations,” the statement also read.

The exercise will involve the air force’s Jaguar maritime strike aircraft, transport aircraft, elements of the Indian Army’s amphibious brigade, destroyers, anti submarine warfare corvettes and amphibious warships with ship-borne helicopters of the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command. The statement also said that the joint forces would execute multi-domain high intensity offence and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal and carry out amphibious landing operations, air-landed operations and helicopters-borne insertion of Special Forces from sea, culminating in tactical follow-on operations on land.

Story first published: Friday, January 22, 2021, 10:01 [IST]

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