Focus: GS-II International Relations
Why in news?
A US carrier strike group led by aircraft carrier USS Nimitz conducted a “cooperative” exercise with Indian warships in the Indian Ocean.
- The USS Nimitz, along with guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton, missile destroyers USS Sterett and USS Ralph Johnson, participated in what the US described as a “cooperative exercise” with Indian destroyer INS Rana, stealth frigates INS Sahyadri and INS Shivalik and missile corvette INS Kamorta.
- This U.S. India Joint Naval Exercise sent a strong strategic signal to China amid the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh.
- A hard-nosed display of military intent by India, which has now deployed around 10 Jaguar maritime strike fighters, armed with deadly anti-ship Harpoon missiles, at its Car Nicobar airbase in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago – has amplified the message to China.
- Situated over 1,200km from India’s eastern coast, the A&N Islands overlook the maritime boundaries of southeast Asia and dominate China’s critical sea trade routes passing through the Strait of Malacca.
- Though it was largely a ‘Passex’ (passing exercise), the mammoth nuclear-powered USS Nimitz and her accompanying three warships were significantly transiting through the Indian Ocean Region after completing a “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, where an expansionist and aggressive China is strongarming its neighbours.
- The IAF has already forward deployed Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s as well as Apache attack and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters along the land border with China, especially in eastern Ladakh.
Recently in News: Andamans build-up plans
- India is now looking to fast-track plans for basing additional military forces in the strategically-located Andaman & Nicobar archipelago, along with the requisite development of infrastructure, as an effective counter to China’s expanding strategic presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- Defence sources on Friday said the long-pending plans for “force accretion” and “military infrastructure development” at the A&N Islands have “gained a sense of urgency” with China’s aggressive and expansionist moves both along the Line of Actual Control as well as the IOR.
- The Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC) was set up in 2001 as the country’s first — and till now the only — “theatre” command with all land, sea and air forces under one operational commander.
-Source: Times of India