Special Correspondent

Good response to navy’s confidence building measures, says K.R. Singh

Thiruvananthapuram: India has no reason to be overtly concerned about China’s intentions in the Indian Ocean region, K.R. Singh, former director, National Security Programme, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has said.

He was delivering a lecture on ‘Indian Navy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ at the V.K. Krishna Menon Centre for International Relations, University of Kerala, Karyavattom.

Prof. Singh said China’s support for the construction of ports in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan needed to be understood in terms of the country’s economic diplomacy. None of the countries, he pointed out, had provided a military base for China.

“The role of the Indian Navy has widened in recent times not only in terms of its combat role in nuclear warfare but also in terms of providing humanitarian assistance during disasters like the tsunami and in providing security against piracy on the high seas. The Confidence Building Measures the Navy has initiated among the countries in the Indian Ocean region by way of periodic high-level meetings and joint exercises have evoked good response. The bi-annual ‘MILAN’ meetings at Port Blair are an example”.

He, however, said India’s natural expansion into South East Asia was not reciprocated well by the ASEAN countries on account of the lingering doubts about India’s intentions.

Prof. Singh stressed the need for enhanced co-ordination among the armed forces, Intelligence agencies, Coast Guard, Customs, State Police and paramilitary forces to combat the conventional and non-conventional security challenges emanating from the sea. “A democratic country like India cannot put too much of restraint on people in the name of security,” he said.