Saturday, September 28, 2013

Indian Navy's Participation in RIMPAC 2014: Another Message to China?

India Navy P-81 can be expected to participate in RIMPAC-2014
India will participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 naval exercise, which will be hosted by U.S. Pacific Command. The biennial exercise takes place every even numbered year.

In the past India has been invited to the exercise as an observer. Other countries invited as observers include China, Ecuador, India, Mexico, the Philippines, and Russia.

Observer nations participate in the exercise without contributing ships and have the option to become participants any time in the future. Russia switched from being an observer nation to a participant in the 2012 RIMPAC exercise.

Another first time RIMPAC 2012 participant was Philippines, which likely embraced the exercise as a message to China; the two countries are locked in a territorial dispute. India's decision to participate could also be prompted by China's aggressive posture along the LAC.

The US Navy contingent to the exercise comprises of a carrier strike group, submarines (US has only nuclear powered subs) and aircraft.

It's likely that the Indian Navy will contribute its P-8I aircraft to the exercise, besides a man of war or two. The exercise should give the IN aircraft and ships a good opportunity to tune their sensors to  Pacific water keeping in mind the likelihood of future face-offs in the area with PLAN.