Home india-news Rajnath lays foundation stone of key coast guard facility in Maldives | Latest News India

Rajnath lays foundation stone of key coast guard facility in Maldives | Latest News India

0
Rajnath lays foundation stone of key coast guard facility in Maldives | Latest News India

[ad_1]

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Maldivian counterpart Mariya Didi on Wednesday laid the foundation of a harbour for the coast guard of that country at Sifavaru to boost its maritime security capabilities, at a time when China is attempting to step up its presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) by sending more warships on deployments and also taking up projects in the region, officials familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and defence minister of Maldives Mariya Didi during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’, in Male, on Wednesday. (PTI)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh and defence minister of Maldives Mariya Didi during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’, in Male, on Wednesday. (PTI)

India and the Maldives signed a pact for the development of the coast guard facility in 2021 when New Delhi also extended a $50 million line of credit to the Maldives for defence projects.

The development of the coast guard Ekatha harbour and repair facility at Sifavaru is one of the biggest grant-in-aid projects of India, the two sides said in a joint communique on the concluding day of Singh’s three-day visit to the archipelago.

“The ministers agreed to explore additional avenues for cooperation, including defence trade, capacity building and joint exercises. They also discussed the need to promote people-to-people contacts and exchanges between the armed forces of both countries,” it said.

The coast guard facility is expected to end the practice of the Maldives sending its vessels abroad for maintenance.

In the absence of a navy, the coast guard functions as the armed maritime component of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), which has received patrol vessels and maritime surveillance aircraft from India.

India’s maritime diplomacy in the IOR has capacity building, capability enhancement and collaborative efforts as some of its key pillars, and the paradigm that New Delhi follows is very different from other big powers and is premised on “cooperation rather than competition, partnership not power games,” said maritime affairs expert Commodore Srikant Kesnur (retd).

“While some distant hegemonic powers seek to create seemingly attractive projects that result in debt and long-term entrapment, India offers an alternative based on meeting common threats in the IOR, building on shared values and interests,” Kesnur said.

In what many experts describe as China’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’, mounting debts have led countries such as Sri Lanka, and Pakistan to give control of territories, which are of strategic significance, to China.

“Our ties with the Maldives are special and after Operation Cactus in 1988, the two countries have been particularly close,” he added.

In November 1988, the Indian Air Force airlifted the Indian Army contingent that took part in Operation Cactus that was launched to help thwart a coup attempt involving mercenaries in the Maldives. The operation was carried out at an extremely short notice, and by night, to an unfamiliar airfield in a foreign country.

Singh on Tuesday handed over a fast patrol vessel and a landing craft assault to the MNDF and described the delivery of the two indigenous vessels as a symbol of the shared commitment of the two countries towards peace and security in the IOR. The fast patrol vessel, capable of coastal and offshore surveillance at high speeds, was commissioned as MNDF Coast Guard ship Huravee.

During Singh’s visit, both ministers reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and security in the region and recognised the need to work together to address common security challenges, the joint statement said. “They underscored the importance of respecting international law and rules-based international order and expressed their commitment to upholding these principles.”

India, which is keeping a tab on China’s moves in the South China Sea, is taking steps to ensure that the Chinese navy doesn’t muscle its way into the Indian Ocean where combat-ready Indian warships are carrying out round-the-clock surveillance for any unusual activity.

From carrying out naval drills with like-minded countries to reaching out to states in the IOR, the Indian Navy is focusing on checking China’s rising ambitions in the region and sending out a strong message that Beijing’s power play in the South China Sea cannot be replicated in the Indian Ocean.


[ad_2]

Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here