Interview: Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan http://www.dnaindia.com/money/interview ... _1608561-2
makes for interesting reading and is informative, an excerpt
Take a couple of indicators. Almost 90% of India’s trade by volume and about 77% by value travels by sea. Thus we have to look at India as an island nation for all practical purposes. But this is not very easy. Just ten years ago, 34% of India’s cargo travelled on Indian bottoms (meaning ships). Today our merchant navy has swelled to over 1,000 ships of 10 million GRT (gross registered tonnage). But today they carry just 8% of India’s cargo. So what is the Navy supposed to do? Just focus on protecting 8% of India’s cargo, or the 92% that travels on non-Indian bottoms? But then how do I protect such cargo? For all I know, the ship may be owned by a person of one nationality. It may be registered under another nation’s flag. And its crew many come from a variety of countries and may include Fillipinos, Ukranians and even Chinese. So when anyone tries to limit his comprehension to Indian flags, Indian business and Indian citizens, in one neat package, he must be flying in the face of reality.
and on the talk of China’s encirclement of India.
First, you must understand that China is a country where the military participates actively in using its brilliance to create policies relating to national and global strategy. Secondly, China is keen on positioning itself at all strategic locations, whether it be the Woody Islands, or the Paracel islands both in the South China Seas, or the KRA isthmus in Thailand, which allows connectivity between the Indian and the Pacific oceans, or in Chittagong [Bangladesh], or Sittwe (Myanmar), or Hambanthotta port in Sri Lanka (where, just for the record, India was approached first, but because it failed to take a strategic decision, the offer went to China), or Perth in Australia or Tanzania in East Africa (where China has interests in the uranium there), or Gwadar (Pakistan), or Sudan.
You must realise that China is doing all this not to fix India, but to position itself globally. Unfortunately, in the process, India is getting encircled. India has begun to experience a critical vulnerability at some of the global choke points and has just begun to move to counter such moves. But one must take care that India does not plan on the basis of a Chinese perspective, but draw up its own plans from the India perspective. This cannot happen as long as there is a degree of sea-blindness among some thinkers who sometimes craft policies. We need to have a situation where every possible stakeholder must be able to exert influence on every other stakeholder so that self interest can become enlightened self interest.