Nov 19, 2008 5:30 pm


Seeking to follow through with his reckless campaign promise to win the war in Afghanistan, Barack Obama's men looked hopefully to India. Perhaps, if the Washington helps them achieve their goals in Kashmir, Pakistani extremists will lay off Afghanistan.

The Bush has administration focused on India as an Asian power (counter weight to an emergent China) and strategic partner. Hence, the US aided the build up of India's naval forces and negotiated a deal which ended its nuclear isolation. India needed to do something to give Obama pause. It needed to prove that it is too valuable a strategic asset to sacrifice on the Afghani altar. Enter the Somali pirates and with them an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate Indian hard power in a manner sure to earn international applause.

It's also the first time India's Navy, the fifth largest in the world, has received authorization from the government to act autonomously. In the past, ships had to wait for orders from New Delhi before carrying out preventive as well as deterrent attacks. . . .

Other than the US Navy, the Indian Navy has emerged as the most formidable maritime force in the Indian Ocean, he says. It now competes for influence in the area with China's sophisticated naval force.

India is in the process of expanding its Navy. Aside from adding nuclear submarines, it plans to commission three aircraft careers to its fleet by next year.

The fact that one sixth of the maritime workers are Indians and so are amongst the hostages makes Indian the anti pirate initiative domestically popular. Moreover, her Asian neighbors worry that the Somali pirates success will embolden pirates operating in the Straits of Malacca.

Of course, a successful operation was a must and it was achieved:

According to the Navy, on Tuesday its warship INS Tabar spotted a ship which was similar in description to one of the vessels that was suspected of coordinating piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

Two speed boats were accompanying the “mother vessel.” The ship threatened to blow up the Tabar when it was asked to stop for investigation. Armed with guns and rocket propelled grenades, the pirates could be seen roaming on the upper deck of their ship. The Navy said the Tabar retaliated when the other ship opened fire. Consequently, the vessel caught fire.

Loud explosions could be heard, possibly because ammunition stored in the ship went off. In its statement, the Navy added: “Almost simultaneously, two speed boats were observed breaking off to escape. The ship chased the first boat, which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness."

Well done, democratic India. Other about to be dissed American allies should take note.

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