What is Maritime Domain Awareness and its significance for India?

The Indian Ocean is a region of global dominance strategy nowadays. India needs to have it's game strong in the region and needs maritime domain awareness. Know what is the significance and details about this here
Maritime Security Awareness for India
Maritime Security Awareness for India

The Indian Ocean is a very ‘active’ ocean. It is the emerging centre of gravity in the strategic world. Alfred Mahan who was a great maritime strategist said, ‘Whoever controls the Indian Ocean will dominate Asia, the destiny of the world will be decided on its waters.

The Indian Ocean’s global presence:

Indian ocean's activity is judged by the trade, energy transfer and spectrum ranges from turbulence on one end, to threats from piracy, terrorism and transactional crime.  

The Ocean has now become ripe for geostrategic competition. This has happened because of the presence of mutually distrustful littorals, who hinder the creation of overall security architecture. Multilateral forums, such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) have an economic agenda and are considered moribund now. 

The fate of numerous regional or sub-groupings depends on mutual aspirations. India, however, plays a ground of creating a balance of power in the area.  Take a look at the map below to get an idea of the pirate attacks in the regions

India's maritime presence

What is Maritime Domain Awareness?

  1. It is the effective understanding of anything that is associated with the global maritime domain that could in turn impact the security, environment and the sovereignty of the country. 
  2. It is one of the key components of maritime defence. 
  3. Maritime Defense Awareness is a key component of maritime defence. It could be achieved through the ability to collect, fuse, analyse and display information and intelligence to the Navy. \

Maritime awareness

Importance/ Significance of Maritime Domain awareness:

It is important for the country to know who the enemy is at the sea. It may be a terrorist, a pirate or a criminal dressed as a fisherman. 

The coast guards need to stray vigilant as the sea is highly vulnerable. They need to rely on high-grade sensors and need to have good communication networks. they need to track the movements in the sea and have a real-time report of all events occurring in their zones. 

It is well known that 26/11 attacks in Mumbai were due to failure of maritime awareness. 

What is India doing?

  1. India has friendly relations with its neighbours like Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Myanmar etc. 
  2. SAGAR doctrine of India's Foreign Policy takes care of all the security and growth for all in the Indian Ocean region. The ministry also has Mausam project in implementation which is regarding the same policies. 
  3. India conducts inter-country maritime exercises with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Indonesia, Seychelles and Mauritius etc. 
  4. One of India's liaison officer is posted in Madagascar at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre. 
  5. India as promoted QUAD- USA, Australia, Japan along with India and Malabar exercise is conducted including USA and Australia now. 
  6. India has also opened the doors of the Indian Ocean to France while the latter is supporting it in the Gulf region. 

India and China in the Indian Ocean:

China has developed Gwadar port and its policy of string of pearls. India in its response has launched Sagarmala and has made its presence in Madagascar and Seychelles, Mauritius etc. 

The standoff between India and China made India expect maritime domination too. 

China's unmanned underwater vehicle was discovered in Indonesian waters and this is evidence enough to be cautious of them in the Indian Ocean. It has also lead to doubts that China is mapping the Indian Ocean and may use this to attack through the sea in future. 

India has also created its defence by inducting 2 Sea Guardian drones on lease from the United States. It also has 9 operational P-8I surveillance aircraft and expects 9 more to be inducted soon. 

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What is the meaning of maritime security?

Maritime security is a term used for the protection of naval vessels both internally and externally.

Which nation currently deployed underwater drones to monitor the Indian ocean?

A Chinese underwater drone was recently found in the waters near Indonesia which is suspected to be used to map the Indian ocean.

Why is maritime awareness important?

Maritime awareness allows the realtime monitoring of the waters surrounding a country thus leading to the protection of its sovereignty.
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