US think-tank lists India's strategic assets in Indian Ocean Region

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 December 2019, 13:47 GMT]
New Delhi is “heavily, albeit quietly,” expanding its naval and air power across the Indian Ocean, a study by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) of the Washington DC based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) revealed on Friday with an interactive map that shows the various locations across the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) where India has recently made investments and expanded presence and access. The study lists four kinds of assets: Offshore military bases, coastal radar networks, access to foreign military facilities such as the French naval base on Réunion Island and strategic commercial ports as the deep-water East Container Terminal in Colombo, a joint venture by Japan and India. “From US perspective, this is all good news,” comments CSIS AMTI Director Gregory B. Poling in a video introduction of the study.

The interactive map in the CSIS study reveals that the Indian Navy's has gained logistics access to Duqm port in Oman according to an agreement signed in February 2018.

The Indian move in Oman should also be seen coupled with the joint venture at Hambantota between the family business of Tamil Nadu DMK politician S. Jagathrakshakan and Oman's Oil Ministry at Hambantota, which was exposed by media in March 2019 during the regime of Ranil Wickramasinge and Maithiripala Sirisena.

It was the largest ever single foreign direct investment in the history of the island so far.

"Hambantota got a new boost that was nothing to do with China or the BRI," reported a global shipping news service, TradeWinds, headquartered in Oslo, Norway in April 2019.

On 24 March, Oman's Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy joined former SL Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe taking part in the foundation stone laying ceremony at Hambantota.

The latest CSIS study, titled Ports and Partnerships: Delhi Invests in indian Ocean Leadership, also observes that the governments of India and Sri Lanka had agreed (prior to Gotabaya Rajapaksa coming to power) to install six coastal surveillance radar systems on the island's coast which will feed into the regional Information Fusion Center for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), which was launched by the Indian Navy in 2018.

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