On May 20, 2011 a team from the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) concluded its first seminar in India in several years.The topic, maritime operational law, reflects a confluence of U.S. and Indian security objectives.This five-day seminar, the result of intensive planning and coordination between the Indian Navy, the U.S. Embassy in Delhi, US Pacific Command, and DIILS, opens an exciting new chapter in US – Indian security cooperation, and the beginning of a multi-phase engagement with the Indian military.
India’s 9/11 is known as 26/11.On November 26, 2008, Mumbai was the target of a series of coordinated terrorist attacks lasting three days and resulting in 126 deaths and over 300 injured.It was a devastating event, which is still evoked in solemn tones.The terrorists entered Mumbai from the sea, highlighting that the Indian Navy, responsible for maritime surveillance, might need additional capacity to combat a new threat.The attack also emphasized the need for more robust information-sharing and coordination among government responders.
Since 2008, the Indian Ocean has become the site of frequent pirate attacks on ships.The Indian Navy - the largest in the region - is frequently the first responder, and the international community relies upon India to combat this threat.Recognizing the need to enhance their capacity to conduct anti-piracy missions, the Indian Navy sought to collaborate with the United States to ensure that their naval forces understand the international and operational legal framework attendant to the mission.In response, DIILS reached out to the Indian Navy through the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, regarding the possibility of sending a Mobile Education Team (MET) to India.
During a pre-seminar assessment visit, the DIILS team met with officers from the Indian Naval HQ and the US Embassy to finalize details of the seminar, discuss how best to achieve common security objectives in the maritime domain, including piracy and terrorism, and how engagement would encourage an exchange of ideas between members of the Indian Navy and US experts.
The instructors for the subsequent MET were chosen for their expertise in maritime operational law.Led by DIILS’ acting director and the cognizant international operations officer, they included a representative from the Global Maritime Operational Threat Response Coordination Center, the U.S. Navy representative to the Army Center for Law and Military Operations (Charlottesville, VA), and the U.S. Coast Guard.[file:630 size=original align=left title=DIILS CONDUCTS MARITIME OPERATIONS LAW SEMINAR IN INDIA caption=DIILS Acting Director CDR Jonathan H. Wagshul (from right to left), DIILS instructor CAPT Uma Nagaraj, and Commodore G.S. Randhawa, Director, Maritime Warfare Center Mumbai at the graduation ceremony for DIILS Maritime Operations Law seminar in India.]
The Director of the Mumbai Maritime Warfare Centre opened the seminar by framing the international problem of piracy and his expectations that the participants would learn about new methods for ensuring successful mission engagements within the international legal framework.
The DIILS team spent five days covering maritime operational law topics ranging from the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to the United States’ Global Maritime Operational Threat Response Coordination Center and the law relating to anti-piracy. There were 50 participants, ranging in rank from Commodore to Lieutenant Commander, from naval bases all over India, including several lawyers.The importance of this seminar was underscored by the number of ship captains attending with their executive officers.
The seminar concluded with the Director of the Mumbai Maritime Warfare Centre emphasizing the need for continued dialogue and cooperation in the international community to combat transnational threats, such as piracy and terrorism.He noted that this seminar was an auspicious beginning to engagement between the Indian Navy and DIILS.