No need to increase Indian warships in Gulf of Aden: Mehta | india | Hindustan Times
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No need to increase Indian warships in Gulf of Aden: Mehta

Aggressive patrolling by warships of number of countries has reduced piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden and there was presently no need to augment the deployment of the Indian Navy in the region.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2009 16:33 IST

Aggressive patrolling by warships of number of countries has reduced piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden and there was presently no need to augment the deployment of the Indian Navy in the region, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta said on Thursday.

"If we feel there is a requirement, we will increase the number of ships, but at this point in time I do not feel we have such a requirement," Mehta said at a function in Mumbai, following the commissioning of the navy's first dedicated helicopter base INS Shikra in south Mumbai.

Mehta emphasised that the fallout of terror strikes in the country's financial capital on November 26 last year had not stretched the navy's capabilities in carrying out anti-piracy operations.

"The navy has enough capabilities to handle multiple issues. There are sufficient forces to handle the issues at home and in other regions," the Chief of Naval Staff said.

However, the navy would still like to work under a UN charter to carry out patrolling in the region, he said.

The Indian Navy presently has a stealth frigate operating in the Gulf of Aden, which witnessed multiple attacks by Somalian pirates on merchant vessels travelling in the area last year.

Referring to INS Shikra, Mehta said it's creation was a recognition of the need for the growth of naval aviation.

"In the very near future, we will commission two more air squadrons at Visakhapatnam and another air station at Ramnad," he said.

However, the Chief of Naval Staff said the presence of hutments on encroached land at the boundary wall of the helicopter base was undesirable.

"The Maharashtra government was working on rehabilitating them," he said, adding it would give the base more land to expand on.

The base, which presently provides hangar and maintenance facilities to naval and other government agencies' helicopters, also provides Air Traffic Control for helicopters in south Mumbai and could also provide facilities to private agencies in the future after expansion.

The Chief of Naval Staff said he was not aware of reported delays in delivery of "Akula II" class Nerpa nuclear submarines by Russia to the Indian Navy.

"The trials of the submarines were to commence soon. They are, however, an enhancement of our capabilities and does not affect our present capabilities," Mehta said.

The navy had a requirement for more specialised vessels like the amphibious INS Jalashwa and in the future non-defence private shipyards should also be able to build them, he said.

"We will need a lot of participation of private players in the country to meet the demand," Mehta said.

The Navy was on course to have three aircraft carriers by the end of this decade, he said.