Five-day Underwater Domain Awareness workshop kickstarts in Pune

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Pune, 15th April 2024: If any nation in the world does not protect its sea, it is bound to be doomed one day or the other, said Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (Retd), Chairman of Maritime Research Centre (MRC) Strategic Advisory Group on Monday.

Lt Gen Shekatkar (Retd), was one of the guest for the inauguration ceremony of the five-day workshop on ‘Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) framework for Strategic Security Architecture and AtmaNirbharta’, organised by the Maritime Research Centre in collaboration with Nirdhwani Technology Pvt. Ltd. (NDT) and the Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence (ISCE) at Navalmal Firodia Seminar Hall, MCCIA, Pune.

A T Ramchandani – Executive Vice President L&T, Gautam Bambawale- India’s Former Ambassador to China & Pakistan, Admiral DSP Varma – Former DG, Advanced Technical Vessels Programme (ATVP), Mukesh Malhotra – Chairman Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence, Praful Talera – MRC Adviser on Blue Economy and Dr(Cdr) Arnab Das – Founder & Director MRC were also present on the occasion.

Underlining the importance of maritime strategy, Lt Gen Shekatkar said, “90 percent of the world trade is passing through the ocean. It is only 10 percent which goes by land route or by air. Everything is revolving around the sea domain. And any threat, any nation, normally comes from the sea routes.”

He said workshops like these are important to prepare the country for the future. “Where the Marathas fought, no land invader came to India, the invasion of India started through the sea routes. The Dutch came, the Portuguese & British came through sea routes. They not only ruled us, but also destroyed us. So, the lesson to be learned is, if any nation in the world does not protect its sea, it is bound to be doomed one day or the other.”

L&T Executive Vice President, AT Ramchandani, said “We cannot rely on Western technology if we want to do substantial work in the field of Underwater Domain Awareness (UDA) in the near future. Apart from building the industrial ecosystem, the country should also focus on expanding it. There needs to be a full ecosystem for these capabilities. And it would be a combination of research organizations, think tanks, academics, researchers, coupled with industry people.”

Gautam Bambawale, India’s Former Ambassador to China & Pakistan, said India needs to continue putting growth as their priority and keep practicing diplomacy at the world level as we have been. “We may be the fifth largest economy in the world, but on the trajectory that we are going to be the third largest economy. India should not be taking sides. We should try to maneuver between the various powers, just like we have done on the issue of the Russia-Ukraine war, where we have kept our national interests at the forefront and done everything in our power to steer a course between both Russia and Ukraine, between the West and Russia also, so that our national interests are promoted and protected.”

“If we can do that successfully, we need to focus our energies and attention, not only of the government of India, not only of the state governments, but also the people of India, domestically, internally,” he added.

Dr (Cdr) Arnab Das, Founder & Director MRC, Pune, said the world is looking up to India for our work done in the field of underwater research and remarkable progress has been made in this field. “I think these US think tanks are very keen to work with us for training across America. I think we as an organization are ready. We have a lot of e-learning modules that are ready. These e-learning modules have been uploaded on the government website, and many relevant people are finding it useful,” Dr. Das said.

“What knowledge is coming from the west is not relevant for our waters. So we will have to prepare ourselves,” he added.

Earlier, in his welcome speech, Mukesh Malhotra, Chairman, Indo-Swiss Centre of Excellence, thanked the stakeholders of the workshop, “I would like to thank the members of the Andaman & Nicobar Command, the BSF, the Army, Navy, the coast guards, the coastal police and the members of Bharat Electronics Limited and L&T for helping with this workshop.”

The five-day workshop will see experts from various institutions train the young participants from the defence services and others.

Mukesh Malhotra gave the welcome address and Praful Talera presented the vote of Thanks.