Indian Ocean domain awareness

Ensuring awareness through information.

Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness

By Vijay Sakhuja

Attacks on maritime targets such as the USS Cole and MV Limburg off Yemen by al Qaeda, the 2008 Mumbai attacks by the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and the 2014 attempt on Pakistan Navy ship by al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) have exposed the weaknesses of surveillance systems and intelligence agencies of the Indian Ocean littorals. Likewise, the rise in piracy attacks in Southeast Asia and Gulf of Aden/Somalia have highlighted the sophistication of pirate communication networks, which the naval and maritime forces could not penetrate. Security agencies concur that a robust intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication network is the key to robust counter-terrorism and anti-piracy operations and can effectively reduce the risk of attack by the perpetrators.

In the Indian Ocean, three wide-area CISR networks have been set up to respond to threats and challenges posed by non-State actors such as terrorists and pirates. These networks receive vital information from multiple systems such as the Automatic Identification System (AIS), the long-range identification and tracking (LRIT), satellites and shore based Electro-optical systems and radars to enable real-time data of ships operating in the oceans.

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