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India Contributes Significantly to Vanilla Islands Maritime Security: Expert

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India Contributes Significantly to Vanilla Islands Maritime Security: Expert


The Vanilla Islands of Reunion, Mayotte, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, and Mauritius—all of which are perched atop important sea lines of communication and chokepoints— are playing an increasingly significant part in India’s geopolitical calculus.

Chief Admiral Hari Kumar presented his ideas last month at the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC), one of the navy’s numerous multilateral initiatives aimed at bringing the 12 countries (Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand) of the IOR together under a cooperative maritime security framework administered by the Indian Navy.

In this context, Sputnik India spoke with Outam Kumar Guness, international liaison officer for Mauritius at the Regional Coordination Operational Centre (RCOCS) in the Seychelles, and Commodore R. S. Vasan (Retd), director general of the Chennai Centre for China Studies.

Maritime Security Issues In Vanilla Islands

“For the smallest island states fishing is their primary source of revenue, and the Indian Ocean is host to a substantial amount of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In addition, as the famous Southern routes have altered and the Vanilla Islands are all used as entrance points for drug trans-shipment, the problem of drugs on the islands is especially relevant. At the same time, drugs are moving through the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of island states,” said Guness.

The Mauritius officer argued that similar to this, small island states grant licenses to large nations visiting the islands for fishing, allowing visitors to pay a nominal fee for the permit prior to fishing. However, due to a lack of resources, the small nations are unable to monitor, control, and regulate the fishing, which results in illicit fishing.

In the course of discussing how the authorities on the French island of Réunion repatriated Sri Lankan nationals who had attempted to enter the island illegally by sea earlier this year, the Mauritius officer imposed on another emerging issue: the movement of illegal migrants.

“This is a disaster for humanity rather than a law enforcement failure. Men, women, and children are illegally traveling from Sri Lanka to the southern coast by a fleet of small fishing boats known as IMULA fleets of vessels. At the same time, illegal migration is also particularly prevalent in the Mozambique Channel, an arm of the Indian Ocean that separates the countries of Madagascar and Mozambique in Southeast Africa,” said the Mauritius officer.

Absence of Legal Enforcement

Guness said illegal immigration, drug trafficking and fishing had turned fishing boats into a mode of transport in recent years. However, small island states suffer in such circumstances due to the lack of surveillance aircraft.

Another factor that further impacts the region is the lack of information sharing between governments, he added.

While addressing the absence of law enforcement mechanisms, the Mauritius officer highlighted yet another noteworthy issue: that the individuals who are apprehended by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) or other foreign countries in possession of drugs and then freed often revert to their previous behavior. This happens as a result of lax enforcement of the law.

Significance of Vanilla Islands For India

“COVID-19 has contributed to a greater understanding of the significance of globalization, and the Vaccine Maitri drive by India has played a noteworthy role in this regard. The borders were closed when I visited the Seychelles, and India supplied a significant number of people with vaccines to aid the small nation’s states,” Guness noted.

He added that after the Mumbai attack, Vanilla received a coastal surveillance radar (CSR) with Indian help.

Delhi contributes significantly to Vanilla Island states’ maritime security even when there are no formal financial agreements in place.

Vasan further stated that this assistance takes the form of thorough hydrographic surveys, frequent aerial and surface-based surveillance of the nation’s large EEZ, and defence against illicit maritime activities such as IUU fishing, irregular maritime migration and other types of maritime crime.

Humanitarian Assistance To Line of Credit

In situations requiring humanitarian assistance and disaster relief such as tsunamis or water crises, India has proven its capabilities and ability to act as a first responder for the Vanilla Islands.

India plays a significant role in helping numerous island states overcome emerging maritime difficulties (through guidance or consultation, surveillance or monitoring systems,” Vasan noted.

Benefit of Indian Diaspora To Vanilla Islands

According to Vasan, the Indian Ocean has become a theatre of power struggle, and each country has its own interests. However, the fact that the Indian diaspora creates an environment conducive to Indian investment gives India an edge over other countries in this area.

“Mauritius, with whom India has close historical and commercial relations, acts as a conduit for Indian investment in Africa. Mauritius accounts for more than 70% of India’s FDI inflows. Similar to Réunion, the Seychelles present a plethora of business prospects for Indian enterprises, hence expanding bilateral trade between these nations,” said Vasan.

While discussing India’s maritime security interests, Vasan stated that Mayotte and the Comoros are crucial due to their close proximity to East Africa and major shipping lanes. These nations benefit from a large expatriate population that makes intelligence sharing, combined military drills, and collaboration against piracy and other maritime threats, of key importance.





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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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