The navies of India, Indonesia conduct coordinated patrols in the Indian Ocean. (Photo Credits: ANI)
In what can be considered as a boost to India’s efforts to strengthen and build strong maritime ties with Indonesia, the navies of the two countries conducted a Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) along the Indian Ocean from 13 June to 24 June .
The 11-day stint was conducted as part of the 38th edition of the India-Indonesia CORPAT, which both the navies have been carrying out along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) every year since 2002. One of its main objectives is to keep this important part of the Indian Ocean region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
The naval ship representing the Indian Navy in this exercise was INS Karmuk, an indigenously built missile corvette based at Andaman and Nicobar Command and a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft. Meanwhile, the Indonesian Navy was represented by KRI Kat Nayak Dien, a Kapitn Pattimura (PARCHIM I) class corvette.
Just two months ago, in April, when the two countries stressed the need for greater maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific during the seventh round of India-Indonesia Foreign Office Consultations (FOC). In the meeting in Jakarta, the two sides reviewed their overall bilateral relations, including political exchanges, defense and security cooperation, trade and economic matters and consular issues.
“The maritime connectivity between India and Indonesia has expanded significantly with participation in frequent port visits, bilateral/multilateral exercises and training exchanges. CORPAT appreciated the understanding and interactivity between the navies,” the Indian Navy said in a statement on Thursday. It has also strengthened and facilitated the institution of measures to prevent illegal activities at sea as well as to conduct search and rescue (SAR) operations.
Also read: Eknath Shinde claims the support of 38 MLAs, here are the alternatives of the rebel camp
During her three-day port call at Port Blair, the Indonesian warship participated in a range of activities including professional discussions, pre-sail conferences and various sporting fixtures.
According to the Indian Navy, the coordinated patrol exercise has helped both the navies to gain a better understanding of each other’s operational procedures, as well as facilitate institutional measures to prevent/ suppress Illegal Unreported Irregular (IUU) fishing. Along with creating, it has also helped in increasing the interoperability. Drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy in the region.
With important sea routes of communication (SLOC) and some of the world’s busiest ports, as well as witnessing more than half of the world’s maritime trade, it is safe to say that India and Indonesia are the two most important. Maritime Powers in the Indo-Pacific.
And therefore, exercises like CORPAT, which are likely to boost the strategic ties between the two countries, will play a major role in improving the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.
Another important factor that makes it important to strengthen the security partnership of both India and Indonesia is the shared threat that both countries face in the form of China. In an article for The Diplomat, Don McLean Gill writes, “As China continues to grow in material capabilities, it is difficult to miss its outspoken actions across the region.” He says that China’s naval activities and military facilities have greatly increased its reach in the South China Sea, which is a matter of concern for Indonesia.
On the other hand, China’s increasing activities in the Indian Ocean and its increasing proximity to the Pakistani Navy have also been a matter of concern for India. And therefore, both India and Indonesia are well aware of the need to forge a strategic partnership to counter such threats posed by China.
ALSO READ: FIFA Rankings: Indian men’s team ranked 104th, women’s team at 56th