The Imperative of Political Navigation—India’s Strategy in the Indian Ocean and the Logic of Indo-U.S. Strategic Partnership

US Naval War College Review – The dissonance between the positions of India’s Nehruvian strategic community and of the Indian strategic establishment, especially regarding the freedom-of-navigation operations the U.S. Navy long has conducted in India’s exclusive economic zone, is rooted in realpolitik considerations, especially China’s rise as a great power, and the difference between international law and politics.

India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Has Gone To Sea For The First Time

War Zone – India has joined the select group of countries to have designed and built their own aircraft carriers, with its first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, or IAC, named INS Vikrant, having begun sea trials today. While the program has suffered delays and cost overruns, the milestone is still a significant one for the Indian Navy and its air arm and is the next step toward India fielding its planned multiple-carrier force.

India, U.S. Navies Hold Complex Air and Sea Drills in the Indian Ocean, Kicking Off Several Summer Exercises

USNI News – The U.S. Navy carried out a high-tempo exercise this week in the Indian Ocean involving the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group along with the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The drills come at the start of the 27th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series with CARAT Sri Lanka on June 24, which will include USS Charleston (LCS-18) and the first official participation of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Yugiri (DD-153).

Indian Navy’s First Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant Catching Up To China

Naval News – The Chinese Navy is rapidly expanding its aircraft carrier fleet, with two in service and at least one more under construction. And while still new to the game, their experience of operating carriers is growing all the time. Regional rival India has a much longer tradition of carrier aviation, but fewer and smaller carriers. The first indigenous aircraft carrier, Vikrant, could keep India competitive however.

The U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean: India’s ‘Goldilocks’ Dilemma

War on the Rocks – India’s strategic community was in a frenzy last month after USS John Paul Jones carried out a freedom of navigation exercise near India’s Lakshadweep Islands. Indian observers were mystified by the timing of maneuver, coming as it did at a moment when U.S.-Indian relations are on a high. The disquiet in New Delhi was compounded by a U.S. 7th Fleet press release that said the operation was carried out in India’s exclusive economic zone “without requesting India’s prior consent” to assert “navigational rights and freedoms”—language that many Indian observers saw as needlessly provocative.

5 Years Of Submarine Secrecy: India’s Unique Arihant Class Is Still In Hiding

Naval News – 5 years after she was commissioned in 2016, the Indian Navy’s INS Arihant remains something of an enigma. Her existence is no secret, in fact it is a proud achievement of Indian industry. But photographs are very few. And nearly all those you will find on the internet are many years old. It is a very secretive submarine program.

India Has Tested A Very Long Range Supersonic Anti-Submarine Missile For The First Time

War Zone – India says that it has successfully tested a new supersonic anti-submarine missile. This missile carries a lightweight torpedo as its warhead and releases it over the designated target area, after which that weapon operates as normal and uses its own guidance system to seek out the enemy submarine. Dubbed the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo, or SMART, this could give Indian warships, and potentially shore-based units, a valuable additional stand-off tool in the face of growing submarine threats from adversaries, especially China.

India’s Strategy For the Indian Ocean in Light of COVID-19 and Confrontation With China

CIMSEC – Paradoxically, though COVID-19 has weakened India’s economic ability to fund its naval infrastructure and assets program for the Indian Ocean, it has enabled India to strengthen its links with Indian Ocean micro-states through the humanitarian assistance delivered by the navy. Meanwhile, land confrontation with China at Galwan has encouraged India to deepen its military links with other maritime powers operating in the Indian Ocean. In an unstated but evident balancing fashion, this is enabling India to improve its maritime position in the Indian Ocean vis-à-vis China.

The “Indo” in the “Indo-Pacific”—An Indian View

US Naval War College Review – While some security arrangements exist in the Indo-Pacific, there is no overall regional security architecture, geopolitical headwinds are causing existing arrangements to wobble, and loose groupings of countries are emerging either to strengthen or to weaken those arrangements. India’s strategic stakes are growing, but it faces capacity and capability issues that impose prioritization constraints.

Australia, India, and the Islands of the Indo-Pacific

War on the Rocks – As India and Australia prepare for a virtual summit next month between prime ministers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a possible strategic initiative could involve the cooperative use of their respective island territories in the Indian Ocean for strategic purposes. India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands are well positioned to offer significant advantages for both countries.

Indian Navy will considering buying Refurbished Kilo Submarines from Russia

Indian Defense Research Wing – Russia has communicated an offer of selling three old Kilo-class hulls for the Indian Navy to tide over its shortfall of conventional submarines. The $1.8 billion “three plus three” arrangement bundles refits of three of India’s Kilo-class submarines with an additional three old Russian navy Kilo-class hulls.

(Thanks to Alain)

The Raisina Dialogues: Naval Convergence in the Indo-Pacific

CIMSEC – The annual Raisina Dialogue, hosted by India since 2016, is useful for highlighting the process of maritime strategic convergence between Australia, France, India, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. The Raisina Dialogue was initially set up by India as a high-level forum for international discussion. Tellingly, Chinese officials have never been invited.