The legendary military theorist, Sun Tzu, is once said to have observed that the critical element in battle was foreknowledge, but that it “could not be elicited from spirits, nor from gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations”.
As the great Chinese general saw it, foreknowledge could only be gathered with specialised tools and by men who knew the enemy well. A prior reading of the adversary and the theatre of battle, the master tactician asserted, could decisively shift the balance of fortune in war.
Nature of the enemy at sea
In the modern maritime arena, war is a more complex proposition than in the days of Sun Tzu, but ‘foreknowledge’ is still critical. Today, the enemy at sea is often unrecognisable — a terrorist, a pirate, a criminal or a sea robber — an invisible presence that lurks behind regular actors such as fishermen and port workers.
Law enforcement agencies today need to be a lot more vigilant, highly reliant on high-grade sensors and communication networks that observe and track suspicious movements, sharing information in real time. Practitioners describe this state of enhanced consciousness as maritime domain awareness.
Of late, the Indian Navy has been on a drive to improve domain awareness in the Indian Ocean. The Navy is seeking to expand India’s surveillance footprint by setting up radar stations in the Maldives