New Delhi: The Indian Navy is ready to defend the country against all threats, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said while addressing the personnel of Western Fleet, during his "day at sea" onboard INS Vikramaditya off the Goa coast on Sunday.
"I am most impressed to see the professionalism, commitment and spirited approach shown by the brave sailors of the Indian Navy. I am reassured that the security of our nation is in safe hands," he said after witnessing the prowess and fire power of the Western Fleet first hand. Emphasising that India's security relies a lot on being strong at sea, the Defence Minister said that the Navy's Mission Based Deployments at critical regions of the Indian Ocean have strengthened the maritime security environment in the region.
He also commended the Western Fleet which was immediately deployed in a strong posture in the northern Arabian Sea when the government effectively responded to the Pulwama attacks through strikes on terror camps in Balakot. "Western Fleet degraded the ability of our adversary and ensured they did not attempt any misadventure at sea," Singh said terming the most significant role of Indian Navy is to have a credible "second strike" capability as a Nuclear deterrent.
He also commended the Navy for demonstrating and re-affirming its role as a Net Security Provider in the Indian Ocean Region. "The Navy has been able to achieve credible deterrence by maintaining a very high degree of preparedness through regular training, quality maintenance and strategic situational awareness," Singh said adding that naval deployments are an important tool of diplomacy which is essential to build bonds with friendly nations. The Defence Minister described Navy as the key enabler and guarantor of India's maritime security and said that the role of the Indian Navy is also critical in ensuring the energy security and economic growth of the country.
"India's economic resurgence is directly linked to its overseas trade and energy needs, most of which is by sea. About 90 per cent of India's international trade by volume and about 70 per cent by value are carried by sea. As we move towards our goal of 5 trillion dollar economy; the volume of maritime trade will only grow in times to come," he said according to an official release. Singh said the government's commitment towards building a strong and modern Navy was evident in the time of Late Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee also when strong policy decisions to increase funding for warship construction were taken in order to build 'blue water' capability for the Navy.
He also said that induction and integration of new state-of-the-art equipment through the Prime Minister's 'Make in India' initiative is making the Indian Navy amongst the most advanced Navies of the world today. "Our indigenously built destroyers, frigates, submarines, patrol vessels and attack craft are a testimony of the industrial strength of the country and the role of the Navy towards empowering domestic technologies and industries is noteworthy", he added.
On commissioning INS Khanderi, the second indigenously built Scorpene-class submarine, launching 'Nilgiri', the first of the indigenous Project 17A frigates and commissioning the Aircraft Carrier Dock at Naval Dockyard, Singh said, "this is an indication of a self-reliant India and generates confidence about our maritime power and the bright future of the country." During his stay on INS Vikramaditya, the Defence Minister witnessed a wide range of naval operations including weapon firing by the fighter aircraft and night flying operations by helicopter from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier.
"In addition, surface shoots, Missile and Rocket firing by various ships Underway Replenishment with multiple ships and submarines operations were also demonstrated," he said. Singh joined the ship's crew during morning Yoga followed by a walk around the Aircraft Carrier. "He was also briefed on the reach of the Indian Navy and enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness. He also spoke to INS Mysore, deployed in the Strait of Hormuz, through video conferencing. Shri Rajnath Singh also interacted with the crew of INS Vikramaditya over Barakhana," read the release.
The Defence Minister's visit culminated with the Steam Past and FlyPast - the traditional naval salutation by ships, submarines and aircraft of Western Naval Command. He was accompanied by the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Ajith Kumar and Rear Admiral Jasjit Singh Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.