OPEN APP
Home / News / World /  ‘We must exchange data to form recognized maritime picture’

‘We must exchange data to form recognized maritime picture’

India is building great ships, so is the Netherlands. Perhaps we should cooperate and at least examine whether that cooperation could take place as well in the shipbuilding industry, said Tas.Premium
India is building great ships, so is the Netherlands. Perhaps we should cooperate and at least examine whether that cooperation could take place as well in the shipbuilding industry, said Tas.

  • It’s not just China, we are facing the same challenges all over the world, for instance, cybercrime whether it is state-owned or not. We all deal with uncertain geopolitical developments

Listen to this article

NEW DELHI : NEW DELHI: The Netherlands frigate HNLMS Evertsen is part of the British Carrier Strike Group (CSG) that sailed into the Indian Ocean last week for exercises with the Indian Navy. Vice Admiral Rene Tas, commander of the frigate sees great potential for cooperation between Indian and the Dutch navies, given that the Indo-Pacific policies of the two countries – keeping sea lanes of communication open and unhindered – are in sync. There is also scope for cooperation in the shipbuilding arena, Tas says. 

Edited excerpts from an interview:

After your visit, what are your impressions of the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region? How potent is the challenge from China?

It’s not just China, we are facing the same challenges all over the world, for instance, cybercrime whether it is state-owned or not. We all deal with uncertain geopolitical developments. We have natural disasters as a result of climate change and we have crises as a result of poor governance and the lack of prosperity in nations. We also have the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and extremism and terrorism, and of course, non-adherence to the rule of law and the UN charter so I don’t think that is typical for this region. 

These are threats to the values we live by. Both our nations want to secure our well being. I think the Netherlands as part of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and the EU (European Union) plays an important role in securing those interests and so does India. So, we are allies in that respect. India is a great nation with a strategic location and is playing a major role here.

The Netherlands has unveiled its Indo-Pacific policy and so has the EU. Are there any points of divergence?

I believe both the Netherlands and the EU policies are synchronised and so is the policy developed in India in 2015. India’s policy is known as 'Security and Growth for All in the Region', which aligns with what we have in the Netherlands and the EU as well. I think we are on the same sheet of music there.

Now that you have an Indo-Pacific policy, are there plans for regular patrols in the Indo-Pacific?

We will be involved in the region. That does not necessarily mean we will have to send navy ships every year because as you know in the Netherlands we have a smaller navy. But the interests of the EU and the Netherlands do not stop at the boundaries of the EU. And maritime trade is global trade. I cannot exclude that we will have a more frequent presence of European ships in the region anyway.

India, the US, Australia and Japan have just concluded the Malabar exercises. Were there any plans for the British CSG to have joined these exercises?

We did not participate as our schedule did not allow us. But of course where we can we should exercise as much as possible with the US, the UK, India and other like-minded nations because it is all about our values, our prosperity about our well being and free trade of course at sea. All our nations are determined to defend our mutual interests. We have to show potential adversaries that we are serious about it and that we have adequate capacities and capabilities. 

With other like-minded nations, we make sure that we exchange lessons learnt as much as we exchange data to establish a recognized maritime picture so that we know what is happening on the seas. We should also improve interoperability which exercises like the Malabar will help with because it is easy to assist and cooperate once we have exercised extensively. So, we know that our ships and aircraft that operate at sea are interoperable.

What kind of signal do the exercises between the UK CSG and India send out to the region and the world?

I think what it signals is that we are all in the same game and that is that the like-minded nations that live by the principles of the UN charter that want to have democracy, free trade show potential adversaries that we are serious and ready to defend those interests and that we are capable of defending them. That’s the main aim of working together in this region.

China and Russia have conducted joint exercises just recently in the Sea of Japan. What message does that send out?

It's all about free trade and the free use of the seas so Russia and China are entitled to exercise in the region, on the high seas. And that’s not a bad thing in itself. But it shouldn’t be aggressive. They shouldn’t take an aggressive posture. That’s important because that will lead to misunderstandings or accidents and that should be avoided at all times. 

What do you think are potential areas for bilateral cooperation?

We haven’t done any bilateral exercises over the last years though we visited with some ships now and then. I think the last time was in 2010 when I was captain of one of the ships. We cooperated in the anti-piracy operations off the coasts of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean region. So, we had some things together but that was part of a bigger task force or task group. 

What we could do bilaterally, is make sure that we exchange data or intelligence to establish that recognized maritime picture that serves all nations. We also participate in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium. At the moment, we could also exchange data with our capabilities with our ships. I know India is building great ships, so is the Netherlands. Perhaps we should cooperate and at least examine whether that cooperation could take place as well in the shipbuilding industry.

Talking of information sharing, do you have plans to post an officer at India’s Information Fusion Centre?

We have not sent any liaison officer but I am aware that the UK, the US and France have liaison officers at that centre and we cooperate closely with them and for the time being we would continue with that structure.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!

Close
×
Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout