Maritime piracy, smuggling won’t be tolerated; it is pledge of New India: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Feb 3 (UNI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday that those involved in maritime piracy and smuggling will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and it is the pledge of ‘New India’.

While speaking at the commissioning ceremony of INS Sandhayak, the first Survey Vessel Large (SVL) ship, at the Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam, the Defence Minister lauded the Navy for providing security not only to the Indian ships but also those from friendly countries.

He referred to the recent drone attack on a British ship in the Gulf of Aden, which resulted in the oil tankers catching fire. He commended the Indian Navy for its prompt response in extinguishing the fire, stating that the effort was recognised and appreciated by the world, an official statement said here.

He also praised the Indian Navy for averting five piracy attempts and assisting ships attacked by drones and missiles in the last few days, in addition to rescuing 80 fishermen and marines.

“The Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean region is facilitating safe trade while ensuring peace and prosperity. Many defence experts are calling this the rise of a superpower. This is our culture to protect everyone,” he said.

Terming the Indian Ocean as a hotspot for global trade, Rajnath Singh said, “Many choke points like the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Guinea, etc. are present in the Indian Ocean, through which a large amount of international trade takes place. Many threats remain at these choke points, the biggest being from pirates,” referring to the hijack attempts on merchant vessels in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Navy’s courage and promptness to rescue the ships from the pirates.

He pointed out that post-Independence, despite facing challenges on many fronts, India continued to move forward for its security and protected itself from threats. Today, the country is marching ahead on the path of development, with the more-than-ever strong Navy providing security in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region as the first responder, he added.

The primary role of INS Sandhayak is to carry out full-scale hydrographic surveys of ports, harbours, navigational channels and routes, coastal areas, and deep seas to enable safe marine navigation. In its secondary role, the ship will be capable of undertaking a range of naval operations.

Rajnath termed the commissioning historic, exuding confidence that INS Sandhayak will further strengthen India’s role as a superpower in the Indo-Pacific region and help the Indian Navy maintain peace and security.

He explained the security aspect of a country by drawing parallels with the development of a human being.

He expressed hope that INS Sandhayak will go a long way in obtaining information about the oceans and achieve the twin objective of protecting the country as well as others.

“The ocean is vast and bottomless. The more we are able to explore its elements, the more our knowledge will expand, and we will become stronger. The more we gather information about the ocean, its ecology, and its flora and fauna, the closer we will get to achieving our objectives,” he added.

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