INDIA. Mumbai: On Thursday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke at the closing session of the maiden conference of Indian Navy Commanders in New Delhi, emphasizing the importance of self-sufficiency without reliance.
The Commanders’ Conference took place from April 25 to April 28 at the IHQ MoD (Navy) offices in the Defence Offices Complex on Africa Avenue in New Delhi, in a newly built state-of-the-art facility. Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened this complex in September of last year as part of the Union Government’s Central Vista Project’s Phase I.
The conference was also attended by Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, and other senior Ministry of Defence personnel.
Singh mentioned the recent war between Russia and Ukraine, saying that it has once again underscored the importance of self-reliance. He praised the Indian Navy for being at the vanguard of the government’s ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ project, saying that the Navy must continue to lead the way and be a vital guarantor of India’s Maritime Trade, Security, and National Prosperity.
“It is heartening to note that in consonance with the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ initiative of the Government, the Navy has re-invested over 64% of its Capital budget into our economy and the percentage share of modernization budget is bound to grow up to 70 percent towards indigenous procurement, in this current financial year,” Singh added.
Taking pride in the fact that 39 of the 41 ships and submarines on order are being built in Indian shipyards. He urged senior leadership to maintain their focus on futuristic capability development to ensure that the nation’s maritime power advances in lockstep with the nation’s economic objectives.
Regarding the progress of the first indigenous aircraft carrier and the successful completion of the three sea trials, Singh stated that the delivery of “Vikrant” would be another landmark event, and that an all-out effort would be required to ensure that the ship is delivered and commissioned in the 75th year of our independence, which would be a fitting tribute to the “AzadikaAmritMahotsav.” On August 15, 2023, the festival will come to an end.
He also praised the Navy for commissioning important naval units since the last Commanders’ Conference, including the first ship of the P15B project, INS Visakhapatnam, the fourth P75 submarine INS Vela, and the Navy’s second P8I squadron, INAS 316, at INS Hansa, Goa.
In the last six months, he praised the Indian Navy’s numerous initiatives to advance military diplomacy, including the gift of two Fast Interceptor Craft to Mozambique, technical support for the refit of ships from Friendly Foreign Countries, Joint Surveillance of Friendly Nations’ Exclusive Economic Zones, and the conduct of bilateral and multilateral exercises.
Singh praised the sea warriors for their professionalism and dedication in continuing to protect the nation’s maritime interests while maintaining a high operational tempo, stating that he had met extensively with commanders and sailors of the Indian Navy in the last three years.
He also praised the Navy on the successful staging of MILAN, which saw 39 friendly foreign countries participate.
The Defence Minister praised the Navy for establishing itself as the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ in the Indian Ocean Region, commending the Navy for successful rescue operations of Seychellois nationals at sea, anti-narcotics operations in February this year, and deployment of the Navy’s Flood relief teams in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Singh wished the Indian Navy success in all of its endeavours, expressing confidence that the Conference and deliberations over the last three days would have provided Commanders with the opportunity to reflect on ongoing activities, take stock of progress made, debate new ideas, and reflect on how best to achieve objectives in the future.
The conference provided Naval Commanders with an opportunity to reflect on significant Maritime issues at the Military Strategic level.
They also discussed important concerns affecting our national security with senior government officials.
The Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Air Force Staff also interacted with the Naval Commanders and discussed avenues of augmenting Tri-Services synergy and readiness, in the prevailing Security environment. The Naval Commanders, during the conference also interacted with ‘Think Tanks’ on Strategic issues, along the sidelines of the conference.