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10:49 pm - Friday November 17, 2017

Defence Minister says navy needs to be strong and vigilant

Agencies, New Delhi

Complimenting the water warriors for securing country’s maritime interests, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday emphasised the need for the Indian Navy to be strong at sea, be ever ready and vigilant to counter any challenges in the maritime domain.

Addressing the top naval commanders at the ongoing Naval Commanders’ Conference here, Ms Sitharaman acknowledged the high operational tempo maintained by the Navy in the last one year through regular deployment of ships, submarines and aircraft from the South China Sea, Sea of Japan in the East to the Persian Gulf, the Atlantic Ocean in the West and the shores of Australia in the South including the focused efforts to deter piracy attempts off the Gulf of Aden.

She also lauded for participation in a number of bilateral exercises and the unprecedented success of the Exercise MALABAR with the US and the Japanese Navy. Recognising the lead taken by naval service in indigenisation and self-reliance, the minister said it is the collective responsibility of Service Headquarters.

The ministry and the industry to promote a more vibrant ecosystem percolating down to the MSMEs, to encourage development of equipment and systems in India and to reduce import dependence in the defence sector.

The minister also commended the efforts being put up by the Navy to constructively engage with the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) littorals to build their capacities and enhance their capabilities.

She also stated that MILAN 2018 at Port Blair early next year would be an excellent forum to get the littoral Navies on a common platform to discuss regional maritime issues and security challenges.

The four-day long Naval Commanders’ Conference is in its third day of deliberations wherein the top-level leadership of Navy is reviewing major operational, training and administrative activities undertaken in the last six months.

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