Ukraine doing better at a tactical level: Navy chief

At the Raisina Dialogue summit, Indian Navy chief says, ‘Superiority between weapons will always be there’

Updated - April 28, 2022 01:01 pm IST

Published - April 27, 2022 10:39 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar with Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino in New Delhi.

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar with Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: PTI

Superiority between weapons will always be there and the Ukrainians are doing better at a tactical level, Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar said on Wednesday in the context of the Ukraine war, while speaking at the Raisina Dialogue summit. Speaking at the event, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John C. Aquilino said concerns over the war were “amplified” by China’s comments which had resulted in “great concern for the future”.

“We are all concerned with what we watched in Ukraine. We watched unprovoked action to generate a war. This is a very concerning time from the lens of global security. It is amplified by the comments by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with regard to no limits between those two nations. That gives me great concern for the future,” Adm. Aquilino said. 

In this regard, he said what has to happen and what they were watching was a set of like-minded nations and others around the globe utilising all forms of technology to be able to deliver what the U.S. Secretary of Defence calls “integrated deterrence”.

Stating that this was utilising all forms of national power, in all domains, combined with allies and partners and “that’s what we are doing every day”, the Admiral said, “We are operating together, we are being interoperable, we are sharing information, we are sharing technologies, all together, for a conflict-free and a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

To questions on Ukraine and the performance of the Russian and Ukrainian militaries, Adm. Kumar said, “Superiority between weapons will always be there. We need to find ways and means of exploiting them to the best possible.” In this regard, he said the Ukrainians were doing “better at the tactical level”.

Stating that “we are in a contested present” and looking to an “uncertain future”, Adm. Kumar said, “We try to respond and be the first responder in the Indian Ocean Region, which helps in developing trust, interoperability, information exchange, good practices, and domain awareness. All this translates into maritime security.”

Adm. Kumar further stated that it was impossible for any one country to ensure maritime security. “Therefore, there is a need for cooperation, collaboration, interaction and interoperability so that collectively we can ensure peace for the benefit of our region,” he stressed.

In the Ukraine conflict, war is not only in conventional domains but in new domains such as space, the cyber world, and information, said General Koji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japanese Self Defence Forces.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the international rules-based order. It is an attack on sovereignty and integrity... We should not allow anyone to change status quo and we must acquire the capabilities to prevent such events in the future,” he said, speaking in the session.

Grey zone tactics

Talking of grey zone tactics, Generak Angus Campbell, Chief of Defence Force Australia said technology and the will to apply the technology in “novel coercive ways” is what “we are talking about in the grey zone and that is what we are seeing now, especially by authoritarian regimes”. “It is strength that is respected by authoritarian powers,” he stated.

Stating that technology is being used widely in grey zone tactics, Gen. Campbell said the most appropriate approach to deal with these threats was by joining hands with like-minded nations. “We have to be innovative and demonstrate strength to expose undesirable behaviour of belligerent nations,” he added.

On the French and European Indo-Pacific strategy, Air Marshal Luc De Rancourt, Deputy Director General for International Affairs and Strategy in the Ministry for Armed Forces, France, said the French Indo-Pacific strategy was completely aligned with the European Union’s Indo-Pacific strategy. “We need to lay out concrete objectives such as enhancing security in Asia,” he said.

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