New Delhi. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh October 22 praised the efforts by the Navy in its efforts to indigenise and safeguard the nation’s maritime security and asserted that the Navy has maintained vigilance to ensure that there is no repeat of 26/11.
“India has never been the aggressor but its armed forces are capable of giving a befitting reply to those who cast evil eyes on us,” the minister said addressing the media at the Naval Commanders Conference.
Singh who visited various naval ships, submarines and establishments, including IMAC (Information Management and Analysis Centre) and witnessed a wide range of naval operations at Sea, expressed confidence that the Indian Navy will continue to perform the duty of safeguarding the maritime interests of the nation.
The Minister said, for Indian economy to reach the Five Trillion Dollar mark by 2025 there is a requirement for a stable and balanced environment in which Navy has a crucial role to play in the form of safeguarding the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) – the economic lifeline.
He noted that it was heartening to see the swift and calibrated manner in which the Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’, in wake of the incidents involving attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June this year. Escorting Indian Flagged Merchant Vessels through this energy lifeline of the country during ‘Operation Sankalp’, the Navy has emphatically reiterated its ability to defend India’s critical national interests.
Commending the Navy’s Anti-Piracy Patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden since 2008, he said they have been successful in safeguarding maritime interests, and contributed immensely to maintaining maritime security of the region, which is in consonance with the Prime Minister’s Vision.
Singh complimented the Navy for the efficient Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations undertaken in the recent past, both on Indian and foreign shores convincing him on the reach, mobility, sustenance and persistence of the Indian Navy, and its ability to undertake operations not only within the country, but in the entire Indian Ocean Region, in peace and during war.
He said Indian Navy has also established itself as a vital tool for military diplomacy, furthering the national and foreign policy objectives through active cooperation and engagement with not just Indian Ocean Region nations, but maritime nations across the globe.
Singh appreciated the role of Navy in the field of indigenisation in consonance with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government. Dedicated thrust has also been accorded to marine infrastructure projects in line with the ongoing and future expansion plans of the Navy. This includes strategic infrastructure projects like the Aircraft Carrier Dry Dock at Mumbai.
He urged the senior leadership of the Navy to maintain their focus on futuristic capability development, to ensure that the nation’s maritime power grows in tandem with our economic interests.
He emphasised on the need to increase the indigenous content with respect to complex machinery, and cutting-edge weapons and sensors urging all stakeholders to put in all-out efforts on these fronts.
On the announcement by Prime Minister Modi on the CDS (Chief of Defence Staff), the Minister this would also improve the overall coordination amongst the three services.
He reiterated that a strong Navy remains a necessary guarantor of India’s security and prosperity, and therefore the need for a modern, potent and credible Navy cannot be over-emphasised.
He was confident that the Naval Commanders would identify key focus areas and strategies to further enhance the capability and efficiency of the Navy and wished fruitful deliberations.