Pakistan considers neighbouring India’s increased investment to improve its naval capacity as a serious threat.

In an editorial titled ‘Expanding Horizons’ (published earlier this week), leading Pakistani daily ‘The Nation’ said that as India is seriously trying to improve its naval capacity, Pakistan, too, should improve its naval power. The daily slammed the Pakistani government for neglecting the defence sector for long, saying that the Nawaz Sharif administration should help the Navy become more powerful.

Meanwhile, the daily advised the Pakistani naval officers not to get perturbed by India’s increasing naval capacity. According to the national broadsheet, there is no possibility that India will launch a naval war against Pakistan in near future. However, it admitted that the Indian Navy has surpassed Pakistan’s seafaring capacities by investing a huge amount of money.

The Nation welcomed China’s increasing activities in the Indian Ocean Region, stressing that it would help counter the threat posed by the Indian Navy. “China’s investment into Gwadar, Hambantota port in Sri Lanka and Sanodia deepwater port in Bangladesh is a means of opening up routes along the Indian Ocean and to counter Western pressure to keep expansionism to a minimum in the South China Sea. The rationale behind this is sound on the Chinese side; if Chinese influence is expanding along to fronts, it will be harder for any rivals to keep it in check,” read the article.

The daily believes that the closer tie between India and the US make the current situation in South Asia a complex one. “It is obvious that India’s improving ties with the US are predicated on the former’s potential ability to counter China’s sea power in the east. India is seen as the perfect counter-balance to this in this region, considering the US can only commit so much of its naval power so far away from home,” added the daily.

The Nation further expressed concern over the joint naval exercise as planned by Australia, India, Japan and the US. “The joint naval exercise planned for later this year will have Japan, India and the US as participants. The inclusion of India in particular is a clear indication of it looking to set itself against China,” stressed the daily.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]