Complimenting the Indian Navy for the commissioning of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today said, coupled with the MiG 29K aircraft, the carrier has the potential to become a force multiplier in enhancing the combat capability of the Navy.
Inaugurating the Naval Commanders’ Conference here Shri Antony said, over the last six months the Navy has inducted an impressive range of platforms including the P 8I aircraft and Goa Shipyard Limited built Off shore Patrol Vessel. In the coming months, the first ships of P 15A, Kolkata and P 28, Kamorta will be inducted into the Navy apart from additional P 8I and Advance jet trainer aircraft. Shri Antony said the launch of our indigenous aircraft carrier on August 12, 2013 is a crucial milestone. It has placed India in a select group of six nations who can design and operate aircraft carriers. “The fact that all 45 naval ships presently under construction are being built in India is ample proof of our indigenous ship building capability”, he said.
The Defence Minister said a major boost to our strategic deterrence capability was the achievement of criticality of the reactor on board Arihant. Once we reach the next milestone, namely commencement of sea trails of the submarine, it would make India only the sixth nation in the world to build and operate nuclear-powered submarines. “This would mark another stride forward in realizing our long cherished objective of achieving nuclear triad capability” he said. In addition, the launch of GSAT-7 will also significantly increase our net-centric capabilities, he said.
Turning to geopolitical and security matrices in and around the country, Shri Antony said, these have been changing and evolving at a rapid pace. He expressed satisfaction that the Navy has maintained a fairly high operational tempo particularly over the past six months. “Despite the extended monsoon, the Navy has remained focused on maritime and coastal security in collaboration with other organizations and agencies”. He expressed confidence that the operational capability and effectiveness of the Indian Navy will be continuously enhanced in the future.
Shri Antony said the Indian Navy personnel have always risen to challenges and have conducted themselves in the best traditions of the services. However, he said, there have been some isolated cases which have proved to be a cause for serious concern and embarrassment. “It is imperative to pay utmost attention to such instances and make earnest efforts to minimize, if not eliminate them”.
Describing the loss of 18 crew members on board INS Sindhurakshak on 14 August this year as an unprecedented tragedy, Shri Antony said, we need to seriously reflect upon the incident, analyse it and also draw lessons for future even as attempts to salvage the submarine and an inquiry to ascertain the possible cause of the accident is already under way. “It must be ensured that safety mechanisms are accorded topmost priority and Standard Operating Procedures are adhered to strictly and without any exception”, he said.
Observing that a significant amount of the national resources are utilized in the creation of assets and in building capabilities, Shri Antony said it is the responsibility of the Navy to optimally operate and maintain these assets and hardware, as well as train its personnel suitably so that such national resources are optimally utilized and are not frittered away.
Shri Antony expressed confidence that the top Commanders of the Navy will take a critical look at the deficient areas and help in charting out a futuristic, visionary roadmap for the Navy.
The Naval Commanders are discussing matters related to operational integration of newly inducted platforms and capabilities and measures to enhance efficacy of manpower induction and training.