New Delhi. The Indian Navy is ready to defend the country against all threats, asserted Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as he spent a day at sea on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
Addressing Naval personnel on board, he said he was most”impressed to see the professionalism, commitment and spirited approach shown by the brave sailors of the Indian Navy. I am reassured that the security of our nation is in safe hands,”
Singh who witnessed the prowess and fire power of the Western Fleet first hand, emphasised that security of India relies a lot on being strong at sea and lauded the multi-dimensional approach adopted by the Navy to ensure safety and security in the country’s areas of maritime interest.
He said, the Navy’s Mission Based Deployments at critical regions of the Indian Ocean have strengthened the maritime security environment in the region.
The Minister commended the Western Fleet which was immediately deployed in a strong posture in the northern Arabian Sea when the Government effectively responded to the Pulwama attacks through strikes on terror camps in Balakot. He said, “Western Fleet degraded the ability of our adversary and ensured they did not attempt any misadventure at sea”.
Singh termed as most significant the role of Indian Navy to have a credible “second strike” capability as a Nuclear deterrent.
He said Indian Naval ships are continuously deployed for anti-piracy operations, and praised it for demonstrating and re-affirming its role as a Net Security Provider in the Indian Ocean Region.
The minister said the Navy has been able to achieve credible deterrence by maintaining a very high degree of preparedness through regular training, quality maintenance and strategic situational awareness. He termed naval deployments as an important tool of diplomacy which is essential to build bonds with friendly nations.
Describing the Navy as the key enabler and guarantor of India’s maritime security, Singh said, India’s economic resurgence is directly linked to its overseas trade and energy needs, most of which is by sea.
“About 90 percent of India’s international trade by volume and about 70 percent by value are carried by sea. As we move towards our goal of 5 trillion dollar economy; the volume of maritime trade will only grow in times to come. Thus, I firmly believe that the role of the Indian Navy in general and the Western Fleet in particular is also critical in ensuring the energy security and economic growth of the country”, he added.
Singh said the Government’s commitment towards building a strong and modern Navy was evident in the time of Vajpayee also when strong policy decisions to increase funding for warship construction were taken in order to build ‘blue water’ capability for the Navy. He suggested a push for a ‘blue water’ navy considering the increasing prestige and economic power of the country.
“Our indigenously built destroyers, frigates, submarines, patrol vessels and attack craft are a testimony of the industrial strength of the country and the role of the Navy towards empowering domestic technologies and industries is noteworthy”, he said.
During his stay on INS Vikramaditya, the minister witnessed a wide range of naval operations including weapon firing by the fighter aircraft and night flying operations by helicopter from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier.
In addition, surface shoots, Missile and Rocket firing by various ships Underway Replenishment with multiple ships and submarines operations were also demonstrated.
Singh joined the ship’s crew during morning Yoga followed by a walk around the Aircraft Carrier. He was also briefed on the reach of Indian Navy and enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness. He also spoke to INS Mysore, deployed in the Strait of Hormuz, through video conferencing. The minister also interacted with the crew of INS Vikramaditya over Barakhana.
The visit culminated with the Steam Past and Fly Past – the traditional naval salutation by ships, submarines and aircraft of Western Naval Command.
He was accompanied by the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Ajith Kumar and Rear Admiral Jasjit Singh Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.