The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the Naval Leadership the Naval Commanders’ Conference which was held from October 24 to 27.
The Defence Minister complimented the Indian Navy for securing the maritime interests of the nation. Taking note of the recent developments in our maritime neighbourhood, she emphasised the need for the Indian Navy to be strong at sea, and be ever ready and vigilant to counter any challenges in the maritime domain.
The Defence Minister acknowledged the high operational tempo maintained by the Navy in the last one year through regular deployment of ships, submarines and aircraft from the South China Sea and Sea of Japan in the East to the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean in the West and the shores of Australia in the South including the focused efforts to deter piracy attempts off the Gulf of Aden. Participation in a number of bilateral exercises and the unprecedented success of the Exercise Malabar with the US and the Japanese Navy earlier this year were lauded by the Defence Minister.
She took note of the critical capability shortfalls that the Navy is facing in ship-borne multi-role helicopters, conventional submarines and mine counter measure vessels, which need urgent redressal to maintain the combat edge of the Navy. She assured the Commanders’ that that these issues were being given due impetus and efforts were in hand to mitigate these shortcomings at the earliest.
The Minister also commended the efforts of the Navy to constructively engage with the Indian Ocean region (IOR) littorals to build their capacities and enhance their capabilities. She also mentioned the initiatives taken by the Indian Navy to impart practical training for naval personnel from IOR littoral nations on a regular basis.