The Defence Minister commended the Indian Navy for maintaining a high operational tempo

The Indian Navy has a visible, credible and responsive presence in the Indian Ocean Region and has established itself as the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ in the Indian Ocean Region, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said.

Addressing the senior leadership of the Indian Navy on the concluding day of the Naval Commanders Conference on Thursday, he congratulated the Navy for successful conduct of maritime Exercise MILAN with the participation of 39 frendly foreign countries.

Defence Minister Singh commended the sea warriors for the professionalism and dedication with which they continue to perform the duty of safeguarding the maritime interests of the nation and for maintaining a high operational tempo, the Ministry of Defence said after his address.

He also complemented the Navy for the successful rescue operations of Seychellois national at sea, the anti-Narcotics operations in February this year and deployment of the Navy’s Flood relief teams in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Discussing the prevailing global security environment, Singh referred to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and stated that this has once again highlighted that being self-reliant without dependencies is a vital necessity.

He complimented the Indian Navy for being at the forefront of the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiative of the Government and said that the Navy must continue to lead the way and remain a necessary guarantor of India’s Maritime Trade, Security and National Prosperity.

“It is heartening to note that in consonance with the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiative of the Government, the Navy has re-invested over 64% of its Capital budget into our own economy am told that the percentage share of modernisation budget is bound to grow upto 70 percent towards indigenous procurement, in this current financial year,” the Defence Minister said.

He expressed happiness that 39 of the 41 ships and submarines which are on order were being built in Indian shipyards. It is important to leverage on the momentum that has been gained thus far, he said.

In this context, Defence Minister Singh urged the senior leadership to maintain their focus on futuristic capability development, to ensure that the nation’s maritime power grows in tandem with the nation’s economic interests.

Speaking about the progress of India'a first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) and the successful completion of the three sea trials, he stated that the delivery of Vikrant would be another milestone event. All out efforts need to be made so that the ship is delivered and commissioned in the 75th year of our Independence, which would be a fitting tribute to the ‘AzadikaAmritMahotsav’, he pointed out.

Singh also commended the Indian Navy on the commissioning of major naval units since the last Commanders’ Conference, namely INS Visakhapatnam, the first ship of the P15B project, the fourth P75 submarine INS Vela and Navy’s second P8I squadron INAS 316 at INS Hansa, Goa.

He appreciated Indian Navy’s numerous initiatives to progress military diplomacy. This includes gifting of two Fast Interceptor Craft to Mozambique, technical support towards refit of ships from Friendly Foreign Countries, Joint Surveillance of Exclusive Economic Zone of friendly nations and conduct of bilateral and multilateral exercises in the last six months.

According to the defence ministry, the conference presented an opportunity to the Naval Commanders to introspect on important naritime matters at the military strategic level. "They also shared views on key issues that confront our National Security with Senior Government Functionaries," the ministry added.

The Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Air Force Staff also interacted with the Naval Commanders and discussed avenues of augmenting Tri-Services synergy and readiness, in the prevailing Security environment.

The Naval Commanders, during the conference, also interacted with ‘Think Tanks’ on Strategic issues, along the sidelines of the conference, the defence ministry said.