Interview | Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM, ADC

'Both the NUH as well as the NMRH Projects Are Being Progressed Under the SP Model Because The Navy is Cognisant That True Combat Edge Can Only Emerge From Domestically Produced Capabilities'

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has long been both the area of responsibility and area of interest for the Indian Navy. However, now there are rival players operating in this region? How do you view the opportunities, challenges and threats in the IOR now?

The gradual increase in presence of extra-regional maritime forces in the IOR is being monitored very closely. As a professional Force, the Indian Navy constantly evaluates the maritime security environment in our areas of interest and caters for any changes by implementing changes in our operational philosophy or capability development plans.

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba speaks to executive editor, FORCE, Ghazala Wahab

Threats and challenges to India’s maritime interests emanate from traditional and non-traditional sources. While addressing the traditional threats, pertaining to state-owned organised military capability will remain the raison d’etre of the navy, non-traditional security threats viz maritime terrorism, piracy, robbery, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), human, arms, drug trafficking etc have necessitated development of a fresh paradigm for maritime security in recent years.

The Indian Navy has consequently embraced a multi-pronged strategy to ensure that our areas of maritime interest remain safe and secure at all times. A potent, balanced and flexible naval force, which maintains persistent presence in vital areas, forms the bedrock of this effort. This force allows the navy to maintain credible deterrence against traditional threats, while enabling prompt and effective response to any non-traditional threat.

India’s rising stature on the global and regional stage is mirrored by the willingness of the government to work collectively with our friends in identifying mutually beneficial solutions to shared problems. In the same vein, the Indian Navy has developed healthy, multi-layered and mutually beneficial maritime cooperation structures with most of our maritime neighbours. We have a shared vision of maritime security and all attempts are made to address these concerns together. We are also actively pursuing maritime security cooperation with friendly nations. These efforts have significantly enhanced our ability to mitigate threats in the maritime neighbourhood.

As the largest regional maritime force in the Indian Ocean, as well as the primary manifestation of India’s maritime power, the Indian Navy is committed to ensuring a positive and favourable maritime environment across our areas of interest, to enable inclusive growth and prosperity across the region.


It has frequently been said that India should be the net security provider in IOR. What does the term ‘net security provider’ entail and what sort of capabilities do you need build to justify this term?

India’s unique maritime geography, with a central location and reach across the IOR, has traditionally underscored India’s relationship with the seas. India’s maritime economic activities including energy security, seaborne trade, shipping and fishing have continued to expand across the region. In addition, the ever-increasing quantum of overseas investment and number of Indian citizens overseas have created potential vulnerabilities.

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