Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Wednesday clarified that the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, commonly known as the Quad, is not being given a military dimension.
Addressing a question and answer session here, Admiral Lanba said, "There are dependencies of other nations involved. Australia's dependencies on China for economic benefits, the uncertainty of (United States of) America when push comes to shove. We are not going down the route (military dimension). There are other avenues."
Quad is an informal strategic grouping consisting of four pro-democratic countries - United States, Japan, Australia and India. The grouping is seen by many as a counter to China's increasing economic and military might.
He said India had an unresolved border dispute with China even now.
Asked about Pakistan deploying nuclear weapons at sea, Admiral Lanba replied, "There is no input on them (Pakistan) deploying tactical nuclear weapons at sea. They are in progress of developing a cruise missile which they hope to fit on submarines that are being built in China at the moment. The missile is also being built in China. Moreover, the deployment of Chinese naval ships has increased manifold."
He also acknowledged that India had sorted its differences at maritime boundaries with all excepting Pakistan.
Asked on Beijing reportedly building a military base in the Maldives, Admiral Lanba said, "Maldives is a challenge at the moment. The present government (Abdulla Yameen) is inclined towards China."
He added that as part of the Centre's neighbourhood first policy, the Indian Navy will have its first coordinated patrol with Bangladesh next month.
Regarding former Indian naval officer Kulbushan Jadhav, who is imprisoned in a Pakistani jail, Admiral Lanba said, "We have not worked together in the Indian Navy. Jadhav's mother and wife went to Pakistan and got access. From this, we came to know that Jadhav's health is fine."
Pakistan claims that Jadhav was not an ordinary person and was arrested in Balochistan on alleged charges of espionage. However, India had countered by saying that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.
Explaining about the Chinese career battle groups and their capabilities, the Navy chief said, "It takes a long time to develop a skill set to manage a career battle group. There has been rapid progress since 2011. This has graduated since six to seven years. Their distance and quality of flying have also made rapid progress. The Chinese Navy plans to have four career battle groups by 2030. I am sure they will have them much before than that."
Stressing on the global term Indo-Pacific, he further said, "More and more countries are using the term Indo-Pacific. Only one country which is not using is China. They are using Asia-Pacific."
Asked about the status of Chabahar Port in Iran, Admiral Lanba added that the first phase has been completed and the port is expected to be operational from June 1.
Further delving into the global maritime affairs, he further said, "We have a fair degree of transparency and awareness of what is happening in the Indian Ocean. Complete synergy is at the core of our doctrine."
Admiral Lanba also said that the Indian Aircraft Career - II (INS Vishal) will be a (Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery) CATOBAR career. The INS Vishal is intended to be the first supercarrier to be built in India and is currently under designing phase.
CATOBAR is a system used for the launch and recovery of aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier. Under this technique, aircraft launch using a catapult-assisted take-off and land on the ship (the recovery phase) using arrestor wires.
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