America's military faces reductions in force and spending that could have a ripple effect. Proceedings asked the leaders of the world's sea services: Some see U.S. global naval engagement diminishing and the world's power structure realigning itself over the coming decade. In what ways would this affect your navy?
I do foresee the world’s power structure realigning itself over the coming decade, but I am not reconciled to the idea that U.S. global naval engagement will diminish. I don’t see any radical scaling down for the simple reason that the overall position of the United States as a global superpower remains firmly intact, and is likely to remain so. Despite costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the global economic downturn, the United States even today reigns as the biggest single military, economic, industrial, and technological power of the world.
Nevertheless I endorse the contention that the world’s power structure will witness some realignment in the coming decade. The chessboard of this power struggle likely will be the Indian Ocean. That region presents a mosaic of maritime opportunities, concerns, and challenges that account for its strategic significance. Already home to the web of global energy and trade, it is beset with numerous political and security issues. Add to that the India-China rivalry, which is increasingly pronounced in the maritime domain. Driven primarily by quests for energy security, both are competing to safeguard perceived interests in the Indian Ocean.
That being so, the United States cannot afford to turn its back on the Indian Ocean. Nor is the maritime security of the region such that the United States should consider a reduced presence there. The U.S. military leadership seems fully cognizant of that. Just two years ago we saw the formation of Combined Task Force 151, created exclusively to combat piracy in Gulf of Aden. The United States also is considering establishment of a base as an alternate to Diego Garcia, which could be returned to Mauritius in 2016. While remaining a dominant power, America will nonetheless leverage the sea power of allies and partners. The U.S. Navy will become a coalition builder.
Pakistan will be directly and substantially affected and involved in the future maritime order of our region. We have the wherewithal and capability for long haul maritime operations in the area. Our consistent participation in International Maritime Coalitions since 2004 lends credence to this claim. Over a period of time, our sustained reach and poise in the area has increased, thus giving us an inherent advantage among other coalition maritime forces. In addition, our navy enjoys unique standing in the region whereby it is favorably disposed with virtually all the navies involved. The Pakistan Navy can be aneffective facilitator of peace in the region.