Navy preparing to counter China on high seas: Parrikar

Says modernisation of the force is progressing well, government trying to minimise project delay

New Delhi : Noting that the process of modernisation of Navy is going well, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said that the government is taking appropriate steps to counter the growing influence of China in neighbouring countries.

“We are responding. India is taking counter measures along maritime areas”, he told the Parliament. The reply came after Adhir Ranjan Choudhary of the Congress asked what steps India was taking to check the growing influence of China in maritime areas of Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Maldives.

Parrikar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also visited a few neighbouring countries to improve bilateral ties. He said the programme to modernise the Navy was going on ‘quite well’ as six conventional submarines are being constructed while plans are afoot to make six more.

Parrikar, however, refused to divulge the status of the nuclear submarines saying it is a sensitive matter and cannot be disclosed.

He said there was no delay in ship building projects. Whatever small delay has taken place was due to technical difficulties.

“We are taking steps so that we can guarantee that there is minimum delay,” he said.

The Defence Minister said plans are afoot to increase the ship building capacity of the country’s shipyards and government would not allow any crisis to come to any shipyard due to financial constraints.

16 airspace violations

Parrikar also informed the Parliament that cases of transgression into the Indian airspace have been recorded this year from China and Pakistan, the highest since 2012. “During the last two years and the current year, helicopters of Pakistan and China have transgressed into Indian airspace”, he said. He also said the incidents of violation of Indian airspace are taken up with the countries concerned through established channels, including with the External Affairs Ministry.

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