India to extend defence help to Indian Ocean countries
Amid increasing Chinese focus on the Indian Ocean, India is aiming to pitch in with all help to island nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka to "make up for the time lost".
New Delhi: Amid increasing Chinese focus on the Indian Ocean, India is aiming to pitch in with all help to island nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka to "make up for the time lost".
While defence component will not be a major part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the three countries, starting tomorrow, he will seek to deepen the security ties.
Asked why India was focusing on Indian Ocean region, a source said "if you don't do it, someone would be there to do it. We are just making up for the lost time".
China has been making inroads into these island nations with infrastructure projects that has raised India's eyebrows.
In Seychelles, Modi will inaugurate the first of the eight Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR) system India is setting up there.
The first CSR would be based in Mahe Island, capital of Seychelles.
"This is part of the capability enhancement project for Seychelles in which India is helping," defence sources here said.
They added that CSR will be based on Indian band and will have electro-optic system besides Automatic Identification System (AIS).
The plan is to have eight such radars for Seychelles with five on the mainland and three on the outlying islands.
These radars, to be manned by Seychelles Coast Guard, will be able to give live images of the coast to the main station.
Asked if these CSRs would be linked to India's Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) of the Navy, sources said it can eventually.
The CSRs would be able to give full information about the maritime waters of the Island nation.
With AIS, the country would be able to know the identity of all ships weighing 300 tonnes and more.
In Mauritius, Modi will also attend a programme to mark the commissioning of MCGS Barracuda, an offshore patrol vessel which India exported for use of that country's National Coast Guard.
India has already set up eight CSRs in Mauritius in 2012.
India is also assisting Mauritius in the hydro-graphic survey of her ports, islands and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The same help is also being extended to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Seychelles.
India has also set up six AIS-capable radars in Sri Lanka.
Another country that India is planning to set up CSRs is the Maldives, defence sources said adding that an MoU for 10 such systems is yet to be signed.