INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS
ASIA 2001 –– SINGAPORE –– 8 – 12 MAY 2001
IDC EXCLUSIVE SHOW REPORT
Delhi, 18 May 2001
world’s maritime equilibrium has undergone a sea change in recent times.
These pointers picked up at the Conference and Exhibition –– IMDEX
2001, are relevant to highlight as a preamble to this exclusive show report.
Maritime nations are shifting emphasis from land to the sea for
both security and resources. Armies are being reduced and navies are
Budgets for Navies are rising and if NMD succeeds USA will have a
powerful and expensive Sea based defence system. USA will continue to base
its military security on technological superiority to contend with an
uncertain array of threats, since it has no immediate threat.
Coast Guards and Marine Police Organisations are becoming more
potent, and will compete with Navies in the littoral sphere.
Fisheries will see competition and conflict. In Asia 75% of the
protein for 3 billion people in the East comes from the sea.
Ironically there will be more cooperation and conflict at sea for
energy resources, as energy is deficient in the East and relies on the
Middle East. Notably the Spratlys, Sakhalin, Siberian gas, Taiwan, India
and Pakistan etc., have differences and undemarcated boundaries. There are
seven outstanding disputes on sea boundaries in the East, though China and
Russia the two big powers have secure boundaries.
Skilful diplomacy is the call of the day as small nations vie for
Blue Water capability. Even Singapore has Sjoorman submarines, latest
missiles on ships and aircraft (F 50) and has ordered 5 La Fayette class
frigates on DCN. Malaysia is acquiring submarines. Chinese and Indian
navies are expanding. Japan and Taiwan have big navies.
It was with this background that the third International Maritime Defence Exhibition organised by a private firm but supported by the Republic of Singapore Navy and Trade Development Board, was hosted at the sprawling new SINGAPORE EXPO building not far from Changi.
floor area of 3500 sq feet hosted booths from 24 Countries. The major
representation was by the American, British, French, German and Russian
firms in an organised manner as groups.
Singapore Navy also threw open its spanking new Naval base at Changi and
berthed 19 naval ships and it still looked empty. Earlier in the year the
Naval Base which has deep water berths of upto 50 feet draught, had
berthed the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and French nuclear submarine
has deliberately built the base to accommodate big ships and attract USN
ships, as Japanese bases may close. 140,000 ships transit the Singapore
Straits annually. Singapore believes strongly that a benign US naval
presence in the area would be good for stability. India can learn from
Singapore and Korea, who gave away old seafronts and built new bases.
in Maritime Endeavour
David Lim, Singapore’s Minister of State for Defence, inaugurated the
show on 8 May. He went on to explain how maritime trade would grow by 5%
annually. He said, “In Asia Pacific, this maritime trade is important
not just to its littoral nations, but to world’s commerce. The Straits
of Malacca and the Straits of Singapore are among the busiest waterways in
the world. And with the projected increase in trade, the number of vessels
transiting in the Straits is also expected to increase.”
need to safeguard the freedom and safety of navigation is, therefore, all
the more compelling. The challenges we face can be divided into a number
of broad categories –– natural hazards, accidents, and criminal
actions. Let me take each of these challenges in turn,” he stressed.
more people and vessels plying the seas, natural hazards such as tsunamis
or typhoons are potentially more devastating. Despite improvements in
meteorological technology, we still cannot predict natural disasters
accurately. Neither have we devised effective means to eliminate or even
ameliorate the destructive forces of nature. But we are not entirely
helpless. We can reduce the number of casualties in such situations by
increasing co-operation and co-ordination among countries. We can share
information and establish co-operative crisis management including search
and rescue missions.” Hence
COOPERATION in the maritime field set the tone at the show.
200 companies look part in the show and there were 33 foreign delegations
and 16 ships from 13 countries berthed at the Changi base. It would be
difficult to describe the whole show, which was full of business and a
high level of professionalism. Hence brief country wise summaries are
question everybody asked at the show was what is happening to the Gorshkov.
IDC learnt that the matter would be settled in June when the postponed
joint Commission meets in St. Petersburg –– thanks to the Tehelka
saga. However as Prof. Barnet, who was feted by the IN at the IFR had said
on return to USA –– the
fourth largest Navy is not sure where it is headed with its acquisitions,
and the strategy is mixed up between the Russian, British and American
ways –– a good Navy with friendship all round has still to come of
IMDEX 2001 Exhibition and Conference was truly exciting and educative for
a professional as Singapore is very open about its Defence. It has a US$4
billion budget and every Singaporean serves in the defence forces. They
push others to be open and discuss and meet and the social functions have
enough food and spirits to encourage bonhommie. In any case navies have no
option but to be friendly and host parties.
India Vice Admiral Madhvendra Singh VCNS was accompanied by Cmde S
Chakrovarty, DNP, Cmde Chari, DWE and Cdr Monty Khanna, all decision
makers for procurement.
Kora was berthed at Changi and the little 1,350 ton ship built by GRSE has
a punch of 16 URAN (Harpoonski) missiles, one 76 mm and 2 AK 630 30 mm
guns, with the Indian Ajanta EW and IPN 10 CIC and home made Torpedo
decoys. It looked menacing but the finish of the ship left a lot to be
desired, when compared to the other 15 ships berthed alongside.
was represented by their VCNS Vice Admiral Fayyaz ur Rahman and three very
smart looking ships, PNS Tippu Sultan the Type 21 with the Chinese LY–60
SAM system and SBROC Chaff launchers, to meet the Indian missile threat
which is huge.
astern of INS Kora (purposely IDC feels) was berthed PNS Moawin the
Poolster supply ship and PNS Shushuk the small but agile Daphne, now aging
and proudly commanded by soft spoken Cdr Sohail. The uniforms, outward
confidence and appearance of the Pakistani ships was noteworthy. Another
feature was the cordiality and professionalism with which they escorted us
when going on board the Pakistani ships. They were open to answer
questions, showed off their DA 08 Radars and Systems including the bridge,
but understandably did not allow a visit to the ops Room. The mid level
Pakistani officers said they had served on board the USA supplied old
Gearings and one had to admit that the US Navy does train their crews
professionally and maintains ships well, which augurs well for the P.N.
Pakistani sailors also looked more robust and healthy.
American ship USS Curt, an Oliver Perry class FFG and HMS Glouchester, a
type 42, were open to visitors and they had their full Systems on and
opened up their CICs. It was a treat to handle their radarscopes and one
could once again learn how Harpoons and Standard missiles are fired and
controlled and towed array Sonars operate.
for IDC the visit to Korea’s ROKN Yangmanchoon, the 4000 tons destroyer
built by Daweoo was a treat. It had 16 vertical launch Sea Sparrow SAM, 8
Harpoons, 6 MK44 Torpedo and the Goalkeeper with 2 Lynx on board. The ship
was new and the welding and the finish beat all the other ships by far,
including the big landing ship RSS Endurance built by Singapore
sent Abu Bakhr to Singpore and the BSN is looking forward to receiving its
first Korean DW 2000H frigate from Daewoo and it should be a potent ship.
All foreign countries had their yard reps on board the ships for a hard sell. India and Pakistan did not.
went all out to show off RSN Endurance.
IDC has a beautiful set of 30 excellent photographs of the exhibits, personalities and ships that were present at Singapore, on sale for US$75 including courier charges. The media are free to use these pictures and this report with due credits to www.indiadefence.com. Please send us your orders by E-Mail to email@example.com, delivery is assured in maximum five days from receipt of your mail.