Navy prepared to meet any challenge, says Rajnath Singh
The navy has stepped up surveillance and activities in the Indian Ocean Region.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday expressed confidence in the Indian Navy’s preparedness to meet any challenge through its proactive deployment of warships and aircrafts, at a time when India and China are locked in a border row in eastern Ladakh.
The navy is on an operational alert in the Indian Ocean region (IOR) where scores of ships are ready for any task in the aftermath of the developments along the northern border and its P-8I maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircrafts are being used for surveillance of the Ladakh sector and gathering intelligence on Chinese deployments across the Line of Actual Control.
Addressing a conference of the navy’s top commanders, Singh complimented the navy personnel for their role in protecting the country’s maritime interests.
The navy has stepped up surveillance and activities in the IOR, which, it believes, China will inevitably try to enter in its quest to become a global power, just as it has laid claim to large portions of the disputed South China Sea, as reported by Hindustan Times on July 29.
While speaking on the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the defence minister congratulated the navy for carrying out its biggest repatriation effort Operation Samudra Setu, which resulted in more than 4,000 Indians being brought home from different countries.
Singh lauded the navy’s role in providing medical aid to countries such as Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar.
He said the navy had effectively carried out mission-based deployment to protect India’s maritime interests by deploying warships and aircraft at sensitive locations in the IOR.
The navy has positioned warships along critical sea lanes of communications and the choke points in the IOR under its mission-based deployment model and the vessels can be diverted for any mission.
Indian warships are deployed from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait and northern Bay of Bengal to the southeast coast of Africa.
During the three-day conference, the commanders will discuss ways to optimise joint planning, tri-service synergy, operational readiness, procurement and functional reorganisation within the navy to enhance efficiency.
Deliberations will also cover larger security imperatives in the Indo-Pacific region.
The conference comes at a time when self-reliance in the defence sector is a top priority for the government. Several of the 101 defence items in the negative import list, released on August 9, include naval weapons and systems including conventional submarines and ship-borne cruise missiles. The navy will be steering one of the costliest Make in India programmes to build six next-generation submarines in the country.