Describing the emerging security matrix in the Indian Ocean Region as complex”, with “some political developments” and worrisome factors, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony called upon the top brass of the Indian Navy to maintain high levels of preparedness at all times. Addressing the Naval Commanders Conference on May 8 , Shri Antony said, “we have a well-established material and training assistance programme with Indian Ocean Region countries for their capacity-building and enhancement”.
“Today, the security situation in our immediate neighbourhood has become really complex. Considering the challenges in the Indian Ocean Region, it is essential to maintain high levels of operational preparedness at all times. On the one hand, there are some political developments, and on the other hand, a number of other factors are a cause for worry and need to be factored into our preparations, both in the short-term and long-term ”, he said.
The Defence Minister said, India’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean and the professional capability of our Navy bestows upon us a natural ability to play a leading role in ensuring peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region.
“The security of maritime activity through the sea-lanes in Indian Ocean is of crucial importance for the economic prosperity of our nation and that of the world. The free movement of trade and energy supplies and various economic activities such as fishing and extraction of mineral resources is equally crucial for economic security”, he added.
Commending the Navy’s modernization programme Shri Antony said the induction of the nuclear powered submarine INS Chakra has ushered in a new era of submarine operations. “It has placed us in a select group of Navies that operate such a platform. We must ensure that ‘Chakra’ is utilized effectively to harness its real potential and also evolve operational concepts for future platforms,” he said.
Shri Antony said the Navy is on course to acquire potent platforms to add to its blue water capability. “The induction of Vikramaditya in the near future, the potent MiG 29 Ks, as well as P81 long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft would strengthen the Navy further. Recently, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA-Navy) made its successful maiden flight,” he said.
The Defence Minister said the Navy’s commitment to indigenization is a source of satisfaction. “This is amply borne by the fact that 44 out of 48 ships and submarines, presently on order, are being constructed in India. The Navy has also maintained close liaison with DRDO and participated actively in R&D projects. However, this must not give rise to complacence. The Public Sector shipyards must speed up construction of warships and submarines and further modernize the infrastructure and technology of ship-production,” he said.
Stressing on self-reliance in critical technology Shri Antony said the Navy and the DRDO need to put in more efforts to meet timelines. “This requires a synergy and active cooperation between the Navy and all other concerned agencies. Such synergy is imperative for achieving self-reliance and ultimately reducing our dependence on foreign suppliers, particularly in areas of advanced technology”, he said.
Shri Antony assured the Navy personnel that the government remains committed to bring about a continuous improvement in the service conditions of its Armed Forces. “With a view to increase the attractiveness of Navy as a career, the Ministry of Defence has taken several initiatives for grant of Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme and approved the honorary rank of CPO for sailors. Our government will continue to provide the necessary funds to construct accommodation for Service personnel under the Married Accommodation Project for officers and sailors,” he added.
Naval Today Staff , May 10, 2012; Image: Indian Navy