> The Indian Ocean Tsunami - Impact on US-India Military Cooperation

The Indian Ocean Tsunami - Impact on US-India Military Cooperation


By the afternoon of the 26th requests for guide and counsel got here from the affected countries of Sri Lanka and the Maldives--the Government of India (GOI) announced Operation Rainbow and Operation Castor for the NULL countries respectively. These operations have been also run from the IDS headquarters with representatives of strategic ministries and departments show to coordinate civil-military efforts.

Far away inside the Pacific Ocean, on the Hawaii-based headquarters of the US military's joint Pacific Command (PACOM) it was nonetheless the afternoon of the 25th throughout the International Date Line, when stories of the earthquake and Tsunami first got here in. Operational planning for responding to the crisis started abruptly with PACOM in direct touch with US Ambassadors and native navy officers of the affected nations. By the 27th this attempt had been named Operation Unified Assistance and was backed by the formation of an inter-agency core group at Washington to synchronize civil-military operations.

The US navy has the greatest presence inside the area and it appeared herbal that they may be deployed for assist operations. However this intervention was attributed by a few commentators to the US government's "plan" of re-establishing navy relations with Indonesia and gaining sympathy/appreciation from Muslims (India's swift reaction in dispatching guide its associates was equally defined as "power projection" and India's "pitch" for a permanent seat inside the UN Security Council). Curiously these identical commentators also criticized the Bush administration for initially offering a actually low guide bundle of 3.5 million dollars. Now if the US truly had a plan for gaining affect or appreciation would they have arise with such a low figure, when even Tsunami-hit India announced a 25 million greenback guide bundle for its neighbors?

In fact, like in all special countries, the US navy also has international seek and rescue responsibilities. Additionally it has commitments to allies like Thailand (affected by the Tsunami) and a navy understanding, stemming from previous exercises, with special powers inside the region. The first stories of the Tsunami crisis had come from India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, of which India and Thailand had announced that they doesn't require any international assist assistance. PACOM had based a regional base for assist operations at Utapao in Thailand by the 28th December and despatched crisis assist evaluate teams to the affected countries.

It was abruptly that Indonesia lastly exposed the considerable destruction in its distant province of Aceh and the whole uprooting of its native administration, and for this cause appealed for guide internationally. The US higher its guide bundle to 350 million dollars and dispatched navy belongings to Aceh, which have been the primary to attain the area on the 1st of January. India also responded to Indonesia's allure for guide and regardless of its armed forces being already engaged in 4 simultaneous operations, announced Operation Gambhir (Grim), dispatching NULL ships and plane that started assist work on the 5th of January.

Inter-military cooperation

With Indian troops being the primary to have interaction in assist operations, alongside native troops in Sri Lanka and Maldives, whereas the Americans performed that function in Indonesia, the US government announced the formation of a "Tsunami Core Group" on the 29th December to coordinate assist work on this unprecedented world calamity. That identical day the US requested India to enroll on this group alongside long run allies Japan and Australia.

Here back there was feedback that this core group was shaped deliberately to bypass present United Nation's bodies--a feedback that saw every one US motion by the prism of the contemporary Iraq War. In truth the core group was shaped so that guide efforts may be streamlined, duplication of assist may be avoided, and operational requirements for every one nation may be met speedily. Besides the enormous financial guide promised by Japan and Australia, every one nation also installed navy forces into their assist work. Although Australian plane have been shedding gives in Indonesia by early January, their ships didn't attain the area till the center of that month. Similarly Japanese self-defense forces have been absolutely deployed on the Indonesian coast in basic terms on the stop of January.

So the "Tsunami Core Group" was in truth coordination between the United States and India--both foremost and dominating operations in South-east Asia and South Asia respectively.

Secondly even although abroad ministers and secretaries from the core group countries had every one day teleconferences to coordinate efforts, their loss of operational wisdom and real-time news intended that these teleconferences turned unnecessary. Later on Canada, EU countries, and the UN also turned aspect of the core group, which was lastly dissolved per week after the post-Tsunami assist operations had begun.

Other international efforts

Apart from the militaries of the affected nations, and the forces contributed by the Tsunami Core Group, there have been countries inside the area that also gave essential guide to their neighbors. The world reaction was also commendable--Germany and Sweden have been instantly affected by the Tsunami as they misplaced millions in their residents inside the vacationer lodges of Thailand to the adverse waves. But as a consequence of the distances involved, world navy belongings took a lengthy time to deploy inside the affected region.

In South-East Asia, Singapore and Malaysia have been specially famous for his or her contribution of navy assets--Singapore deployed 5 C-130 aircraft, 4 CH-47 and four Super Puma helicopters, and NULL LST vessels. Along with Thailand it also opened its bases for the use of navy belongings from long run ally, the United States. Malaysia deployed 2 C-130 and 3 special aircraft, 2 helicopters, one ship, and scientific and engineering teams to Indonesia. It also opened its bases for use by the United Nations assist agencies.

In South Asia, Bangladesh despatched 2 C-130 aircraft, 3 helicopters, and 2 ships for assist work in Sri Lanka--this being the primary celebration when the Bangladesh Navy has deployed its belongings in an abroad operation. Curiously Pakistan, that is a a lot larger navy energy than Bangladesh, contributed related belongings for the post-Tsunami assist operations--4 ships, 2 C-130 aircraft, and a scientific team. Out in their 4 ships deployed, the PNS Badar and the PNS Tariq occurred to have made a port name to Male on December 23rd and have been nonetheless inside the Maldives when the Tsunami hit three days later--these NULL ships joined the Maldives Coast Guard and the Indian Air Force plane for seek and rescue operations on the 27th.The Pakistani Armed Forces actually had the capability to contribute extra on account that they have obtained a number of C-130 and P-3 Orion aircraft, helicopters, and vessels, as navy guide from the United States inside the final six years.

But at the very least they contributed a few navy assets--the most bewildering absence was of China. The nation has acquired naval bases in South-East Asia, has professed its ambition of obtaining special bases in South Asia, and is a emerging financial and navy energy like India. However the communist nation neither despatched the PLA navy nor deployed the PLA air drive in assist operations in its neighborhood. It in basic terms promised financial aid, despatched one scientific staff to Sri Lanka, and a few assist fabric to Indonesia.

The UN and NGOs

The scale of destruction inside the 26th December earthquake and Tsunami necessitated the considerable deployment of navy belongings by the affected countries, their neighbors, and the Tsunami Core Group. The United Nations and Non Governmental Organizations didn't have the instruments or the belongings to current well timed guide in every one affected area. The repairing of infrastructure and communication links, provision of assist material, and placing up of scientific camps, by the army forces was a fine assist to the UN and NGOs in beginning their very own operations. But that they had special modifications (and a few advantages) over the army forces inside the start of aid:

Organizational infrastructure: the United Nations, and its diversified agencies, has regional headquarters and department places of work all round the world, which current first-hand news on calamities or emergencies to the central headquarters in New York. They also make use of of us of all nationalities and linguistic groups, which give them an benefit in placing up operations in affected regions. The larger non-governmental organizations just like the International Red Cross/Crescent, Care, World Vision, even have worldwide places of work and headquarters that permit them to obtain news on calamities and arrange rehabilitation measures. With regard to financial resources, the UN and NGOs have a comparable entry to cash and fabric with most countries. But whereas nationwide guide funds, for instance the Prime Minister's Relief Fund in India, spend guide cash instantly for relief, the UN businesses and NGOs devour unspecified quantities of related guide cash in financing their very own organizations (payment of salaries, price of operations, etc.). By method of comparison, in India's assist operation for Indonesia named Gambhir (Grim), NULL ships with onboard helicopters and 40-tonnes of assist fabric operated for one month off the port of Meulaboh. The Ministry of Defence sanctioned a sum of Rs a hundred crore (app $25 million) from inside the Naval Budget to disguise the price of this operation...without expecting compensation or depending on charity.

Assets: the UN and its businesses have entry to transport belongings with the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) and the United Nations Joint Logistics Center (UNJLC). They can rent vehicles, helicopters, aircraft, and ships with the counsel of special international sources just like the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). The UN also has entry to the army assets, bases, and ports of every dwelling country--the NGOs piggyback on equally the UN and the dwelling country's navy and civil belongings (the larger NGOs although have their very own dedicated air and street transport assets). But this job of hiring, purchase, and deployment inside the affected area takes up time and inside the case of a world calamity, which the Indian Ocean Tsunami was, the deployment of international navy belongings was a fine assist to the operations of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. For civil-military coordination the UN has the workplace of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) and Civil-Military Coordination officers (CMCoord) operating underneath the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)--the latter workplace had drawn up ideas for navy help to the United Nations' humanitarian operations, which have been endorsed by the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

Diplomatic relations: India's tremendous relations, diplomatic understanding, and navy courting with the special Tsunami-affected countries went a lengthy method in guaranteeing the tender habits of its assist operations. In June 2006, after an earthquake on the landmass of Sumatra the Indian forces released Operation Marham (balm) for assist work, which included the deployment of the navy vessels INS Rajput and INS Tabar and the air force's IL-76 plane with 35-tonnes of assist fabric in total. The US had related relations with in basic terms Thailand, whereas suspicion and hostility marred its diplomatic realizing with Malaysia and Indonesia respectively--the assist operations have been an chance to fix these relationships for the US (and also Australia). The United Nations and NGOs have been principally welcomed in countries like Sri Lanka and Thailand but have been seemed upon with suspicion in Indonesia as a consequence of the journey of the introduction of independent East Timor. Though the US had navy bases near the Tsunami-affected nation of Somalia, no US personnel or belongings have been deployed in assist operations as a consequence of the uneasy courting between the NULL countries, and it have been officers of the United Nations who performed a crisis evaluate of the area (surprisingly neighboring African or Arab countries didn't guide in these operations even although Somalia, like Indonesia, had appealed for international aid). UN businesses started assist operations from the 28th of December as a consequence of the loss of deployable belongings defined above, in which time masses of lives had been misplaced in Somalia.

Future Coordination

Both the US-led assist operations in South-East Asia and the India-led operations in South Asia discovered a few thrilling decent points and shortcomings:

Airlift capacity: Operation Unified Assistance showcased the superior talent of the US navy to transport troops, equipment, and assist items by air throughout huge distances in a slightly quick time. Their resources, highly in long-range plane and mid-air refueling, gave them an edge over their special allies engaged in assist operations. India's well timed counsel to its associates and to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands got here from the heavy-lift IL-76 and IL-78 aircraft--the medium-lift An-32s have been also laudable in these operations. But the IAF's Avro plane and the Navy's Dornier and Islander planes took a number of refueling stops in delivering guide to the affected regions. Secondly many broken airfields might no longer help operations by the heavy IL-76 aircraft. Lastly whereas India has mid-air refueling capability, this has been reserved thus far for its fighter aircraft. These shortcomings can also be overcome as India keeps to improve the plane in its stock (the contemporary transfer to achieve the C-130J Super Hercules plane is motivated by their talent to function from quick and broken runways). In its helicopter operations the IAF scored with its Mi-17s and Mi-8s however the shortcomings of the Chetak and Cheetah helicopters onboard the navy and coast shield vessels have been exposed.

Sealift capacity: the Indian Navy earned worldwide acclaim by the promptness of its deployment for the post-Tsunami operations and the velocity in which it reached the affected areas. In the real habits of operations, highly inside the Andaman and Nicobar Islands the place harbors have been unfit for use and jetties had been destroyed, a clean shortcoming was considered inside the start of guide to the shore utilizing helicopters (see above) or boats. The amphibious vessels overcame this challenge till the restore operations have been completed--these vessels are of the vintage LST (Landing Ship Tank) and LCU class. Their drawbacks in speed, range, and tonnage (as without problem as whole numbers), brought about the Navy to improve its amphibious capability by acquiring the USS Trenton. A Landing Platform Dock (LPD), with 4 onboard Mark Eight touchdown craft and 6 H-3 Sea King Helicopters, this vessel has now joined the Indian Navy underneath the brand new identify INS Jalashva (water horse).

Military coordination: the special branches of the US navy have been tasked to convey out joint operations underneath a single field-commander by the 1986 Goldwater-Nicols Defense Reorganization Act. So planes of the air force, ships of the navy, artillery weapons of the army, and personnel from all three services, can also be positioned underneath a single commander in a special region. The joint headquarters of that commander will plan and execute operations involving all these belongings and personnel. Thus inside the Tsunami crisis of 2004-05 the Pacific Command (PACOM), then underneath the Navy's Admiral Thomas Fargo, deliberate Op Unified Assistance--the navy belongings and personnel drawn from the US mainland and from independent instructions in S Korea and Japan got here underneath the manage of PACOM. The real habits of the operation was tasked to the joint headquarters (CSF-536) arrange at Utapao--the belongings and personnel deployed got here underneath the CSF-536 Commander, the Marine Corps' Lt. General Rusty Blackman. A joint headquarters for the three armed forces of India was proposed by a Group of Ministers underneath the NDA government in 2001--due to opposition inside the companies operational manage of navy belongings was no longer passed over to this Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) Headquarters. India's five post-Tsunami assist operations have been deliberate and coordinated by the IDS, which was then underneath the command of the Navy's Vice-Admiral Raman Puri--unlike inside the US, operational manage of navy belongings remained with the person service. In Operation Sea Waves real habits of operations and start of assist inside the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was tasked to the ANC, then underneath the Army's Lt. General BS Thakur.

Under the New Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship, the NULL countries will boom navy coordination and cling joint sporting activities to reply without problem to destiny disasters. The lead on this regard was taken by the US Pacific Command (PACOM) and India's Integrated Defence Staff (IDS). Additionally the US has requested for the posting of an Indian liaison officer at PACOM Headquarters. With regard to maritime safety India is already a aspect of the US-led PSI (Proliferation Security Initiative) and CSI (Container Security Initiative), aside from its own Operations Tasha and Swan.

Apart from sporting activities like Cobra Gold with long run allies the US started sporting activities with ASEAN nations titled SEACAT (South East Asian Cooperation towards Terrorism) and CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) from 2005. India holds institutional sporting activities with 6 nations (of which Exercise Malabar is held with the US) amongst 22 special exercises, and has protection agreements and joint patrols with ASEAN nations.

In early 2006 the USS Ronald Reagan and the INS Viraat (both plane carriers) held an impromptu workout off the coast of Sri Lanka--the Indian Navy was invited to submit observers for the Valiant Shield and Rimpac sporting activities held inside the Pacific Ocean. An Indian Medical Officer has been deployed on the USS Mercy on account that mid-2006 to enhance inter-operability in crisis assist operations.

Areas of destiny coordination might presumably include:

Logistics and bases: the refueling and refitting of US Navy vessels at Indian Navy dockyards would keep the US vessels the traditional diversion to Diego Garcia inside the far south for these facilities. These dockyards usually carrier navy vessels from Sri Lanka and Mauritius, and currently equipped refitting centers to a French warship. The huge landmass of India is included with air bases the place the US air and navy belongings have been despatched for joint sporting activities with their Indian counterparts--here back refueling and upkeep centers will seemingly be prolonged to US air belongings to enhance inter-operability and cooperation. On the special hand the US has a wealth of bases and ports, which it both owns or leases, round the Pacific Ocean, Arabian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and the littoral countries, which may want to be utilized by Indian naval and air belongings for joint operations and sporting activities in areas far eliminated from the landmass of India.

UN Operations: the permanent presence of NULL enormous navy forces inside the Indian Ocean area will boom the techniques for the sanctioning of UN Peacekeeping or Humanitarian operations. Especially when these forces have complimentary expertise and capacities, and are practiced in a form of joint operations in all types of terrain.

Military coalitions: fast and positive motion towards terrorist teams harbored by weak or risky regimes, with the sanction of the UN or at the very least the neighboring countries, will presumably be the principal focus for the 21st century militaries. For the Indian Ocean region, and presumably even for West, Central, and East Asia, the increasing coordination between the US and Indian armed forces will by itself be a danger to such groups.

While the US-India navy courting has the attainable for the above, it's slightly stunning that it's constrained by the Cold War protection arrangement made by previous US administrations. The Area of Responsibility (AOR) for the US Pacific Command ends inside the west at Diego Garcia; the East African countries alongside the Arabian Sea fall into the AOR of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), that is already engaged in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. From west to east the CENTCOM's AOR stretches from Turkey to Pakistan. For this cause all the joint navy sporting activities between the US and India have concerned belongings drawn from PACOM.

While this division had the attainable for thwarting India's financial and strategic interests in West and Central Asia, the truth is India has nurtured near ties with most countries inside the CENTCOM operational area. India had initially bought to current troops for the peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, however the US had declined that current with Pakistan's interests in mind--India although constructed on its previous nice relations with Afghanistan and has now acquired a particular stake in that very important country's future. Interestingly the US had no such qualms in requesting Indian troops in one other CENTCOM operation--Iraq. Though the then NDA government was enthusiastic about this current for strategic reasons; underneath strain from the opposition Congress and in pale of the emerging insurgency in Iraq it eventually turned down this request.

It is imperative now to start coordination between CENTCOM and IDS (and joint sporting activities between the armed forces) on the identical stage as with PACOM on account that India's factual financial and strategic interests in Central Asia don't conflict with these of the US.

These have been collectively the primary operations conducted by the IDS and have been a deliver of delight for me personally on account that my book, Op Kartikeya describes a navy operation conducted by a joint Defence Staff Headquarters (DSHQ) underneath a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) from the Indian Air Force. It appears that India will proceed with jointness of its separate navy companies on the top, and in sure explicit commands, that may presumably be prolonged to any new abroad bases or operations--quite no longer just like the US, which implements jointness at every one stage of command in its navy structure.