Race for strategic bases in Indian Ocean Region will gain momentum: Gen Rawat
New Delhi, Dec 11: Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat said that the presence of over 120 warships in the Indian Ocean and a race for strategic bases what will gain momentum in future reflects the growing global interest in the region.
He said that India will have to build on existing bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, including more training engagements with partner nations to cope with such challenges while retaining strategic autonomy in decision making.
The country will have to achieve its aspiration of becoming a major global power while living in a tough neighbourhood and an increasingly contested region, he added. General Rawat was delivering the keynote address at the Global Dialogue Security Forum.
"At present, there are over 120 warships of extra-regional forces deployed in the Indian Ocean region in support of various missions. Till now the region, by and large, has remained peaceful albeit under contestation," the CDS said.
"Of late, along with geo-strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific, we are also witnessing a race for strategic places and bases in the Indian Ocean region, which is only going to gain momentum in times to come," General Rawat said.
China's economic and political rise, coupled with the competition to increase influence in the region has attracted a great deal of interest, he also added.
"To protect peace, prosperity and sovereignty, it is important for us to keep sea lines of communication secure at all times with a strong hold on the security dimension of this region," the Chief of Defence Staff also said.