Hello defence lovers! Today we have another exciting and very important topic to discuss. in this article, we are going to discuss India’s double Fishhook strategy in details. We will also discuss how through this strategy we would counter increasing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean region.
Countering String of Pearls
Through its belt and road initiative and modern Silk route initiative, China is aggressively trying to encircle India from all four sides. Following this strategy, China has significantly increased its naval presence in the Indian Ocean region. It is said that the 21st century is going to be the century of Asia. A major portion of world trade passes through the Indian ocean. Thus one who will dominate the Indian ocean will dominate the world.
in the past few years, China has established many bases in the Indian ocean which clearly portrays its intensions. China has increased deployment of its personnel at its Djibouti base at the horn of Africa. China has reclaimed one of the Maldivian islands-Feydhoo Finolhu Island, which is nearly 600 km from the Indian coast. Chinese Naval bases at Hambantota and Gwader ports are also the causes of concern for India.
The Double Fishhook Strategy
To counter Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean, the Indian Navy is also working on a strategic plan which is now being referred to as the”double fishhook” strategy. There are basically two fishhooks, the eastern one and the western one. We will discuss them in details.
India has increased its engagement with the quad countries which are Japan, United States and Australia. All these nations have very strong navies and have shared interests and common goals in the Indian Ocean.
Increasing Defence Engagement In The Indian Ocean
Over a few years, India has rapidly increased its defence engagements with the other countries in the Indian Ocean. In Eastern Indian Ocean Indonesia and Australia are the major partners. In the western Indian Ocean, India has strengthened its ties with island nations like Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, and French territories spread across the Indian Ocean.
Indian Ocean Commission
The Indian Ocean Commission is an intergovernmental organization that links African Indian Ocean nations Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion (an overseas region of France), and Seychelles.
In March 2020, India became an observer member of the Indian Ocean Commission which was facilitated by France. It will help India to develop stronger ties with the members of the Commission.
The Eastern Fishhook Strategy
Andaman And Nicobar Islands
Andaman and Nicobar islands are the tips of eastern Fishhook. It is the most important element of the fishhook strategy. Its close proximity to the strait of Malacca, which is indeed a choke point for chinese Navy, makes it strategically very important.
INS Baaz, the airstrip at Andaman and Nicobar islands serves as the third Aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean Region. Su 30 MKIs armed with Brahmos anti-ship missiles would be a deadly weapon to the station there.
Apart from INS Baaz, the Indian government have started upgradation of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This includes developing jetties, deep-sea harbour and extending landing strips to facilitate the landing of maritime surveillance aircraft.
In June 2020, India has signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) with Australia. It is similar to LEMOA signed with the US.
It will provide support for maritime reconnaissance missions undertaken by the two countries with the use of their island facilities. The islands for such a logistics arrangement are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands ( India) and Coco ( Keeling) islands of Australia.
This kind of complementary logistics support agreement would enhance surveillance and reconnaissance activities of the two countries.
Apart from Australia India has also signed an agreement with Indonesia to develop civilian as well as military infrastructure at the port of Sabang.
On July 27, 2020, Defence Ministers’ Dialogue between India and Indonesia was held in New Delhi In this meeting defence ministers discussed issues related to defence cooperation, promoting investment in each other’s defence enterprises Both countries assured each other to help in extending logistical support
Both India and Indonesia have similar thoughts regarding China. Chinese Navy has been harassing Indonesia along with other small island nations in the South China Sea in the past few years.
Exporting Brahmos to Phillipines is also a significant move for this strategy.
The Western Fishhook Strategy
Duqm port in Oman
The western fishhook strategy starts from Duqm port in Oman where
India has entered into Maritime Transport Agreement and has gained access facility for the Indian navy. India has also been working with regard to entering an agreement with Djibouti so as to avail the logistic support in the Horn of Africa.
India has increased engagements with Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar. India is providing assistance to these countries through training and visiting of the ships as well as giving them coastal radar systems, and few fast attack crafts.
Reunion island is French oversea territory. India and France have deep military and security cooperation. By French efforts India entered the Indian ocean commission in 2020. France is also interested in conducting joint petrol sorties from reunion islands with India.
Diego Garcia is an important US Navy base in the Indian Ocean. Under LEMOA, India automatically gets the access of Diego Garcia base. Its in the Middle of Indian Ocean and it is where the two fishhooks meet.
Thus the double Fishhook strategy would help India to counter Chinese string of pearl Strategy. In Case of Any conflict it will help India to create a naval blockade for China. Thus together with all the friendly countries especially the Quad, Indian navy would be able to counter Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean.