INS Vikrant: Rewiring Indian Navy’s foray into Indigenization

By Krishna Kataria,Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society (MHS)

India’s first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier began its sea trials off the coast of Kochi in August, 2021. The launch of the new Vikrant, was a seminal event in India’s maritime journey and one that brought a palpable sense of maritime pride. The landmark achievement put India in an exclusive list of nations that have demonstrated the capability to indigenously design and build these powerful naval vessels. The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC – 1) is designated to be named Vikrant, the same as the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier that was decommissioned in 1997. The illustrious predecessor was in commission for more than 35 years and had played a key role in India’s victory in the 1971 War.

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Remembering Indian Navy’s Humanitarian Intervention: Tsunami 2004

By Krishna Kataria Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society (MHS)

When on 26 December 2004, Tsunami struck due to an undersea earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, within 12 hours the first Indian naval helicopters were in Sri Lanka with relief material. In the next 24 hours, two Indian naval ships were already in Galle and Trincomalee and three others had been dispatched to Male. And within a few days, the Indian Navy had converted two of its ships into hospital ships and sent them to Indonesia, which was the worst hit. Since then, the Indian Navy has played a leading role in being the first determinant in humanitarian operations carried out in the Indian Ocean littorals.

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India’s Maritime Overture Towards UNSC: A Historical Narrative

By Krishna Kataria, Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society (MHS)

India will always be a voice of moderation, an advocate of dialogue and a proponent of international law”

Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, UNSC Presidency, 2021

 

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on August 09, 2021, via video conferencing at United Nations Security Council chaired the High-level Open Debate on ‘Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation’ that focused on ways to effectively counter maritime crime and insecurity and strengthen coordination in the maritime domain. The discussion witnessed the participation of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, and many more notable ministers.

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Rewiring India’s Maritime Leadership

By Krishna Kataria, Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society (MHS)

“Nature has ensured that India’s geographic configuration makes her as reliant on the seas as any island nation. Geopolitical imperatives have in the recent past served to confirm the importance of the maritime domain in our national security matrix.”\

– Adm Arun Prakash (Retd) [Indian Naval Despatch, Winter 2020]

Throughout history, the maritime domain has been a crucial space in establishing new and emerging powers shaping regional dynamics. India’s maritime  strategy represents the new strategic reality of the twenty-first century. The opening up of economies, growing seaborne trade, and the seamless connectivity in the maritime sector conveys India’s emerging role in maritime domain. As emphasized by K.M Panikkar, “It is the geographical position of India that changes the character of the Indian Ocean.” By the 21st century, Indian Navy’s global maritime outlook has become palpable in terms of trade, connectivity and security dynamics. Against this backdrop, the maritime strategy of India reflects the country’s maritime aspirations.

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National Maritime Day, 2021: Celebrating India’s Maritime Journey

By Krishna Kataria, Project Research Associate, Maritime History Society

Every year, on April 5, India celebrates National Maritime Day to commemorate modern Indian shipping embarked on its maiden voyage this day in 1919. The SS Loyalty, owned by the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, made an audacious venture, sailing from India to England.

This piece cherishes the day by taking us through the historical recall of the journey of India’s Shipping development, understanding the significance of National Maritime Day, and reminisce about the contribution of Mr. Walchand and Scindia Steam Navigation Company in India’s shipping history.

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Maritime Theatre Needs A Multidimensional Approach

By Krishna Kataria, Adjunct Research Associate, Maritime History Society

“Geography provides strategy with underlying continuity, a point that is generally
true, but is especially important for the sea.”

– British Military Historian Hew Strachan

Oceans have been the canvas of connectivity across time. The evolving nature of human movement across the two ocean regions of Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean have witnessed transfusion of culture, commerce and contestations. Across the expanse of this geopolitical space India’s maritime theatre has been a geographical hub and a conceptual axis to connect continents and power dynamics through history.

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