Amid aggressive posturing by China on maritime issues, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today asserted that it was the primary objective of the Indian Navy to keep the Indo-Pacific open, safe and secure.
”The Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) is based on the spirit of friendship, openness, dialogue and coexistence with the neighbours. With that very vision, the Indian Navy is effectively discharging its duties,” he said.
The defence minister was launching two frontline warships of the Indian Navy–‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’- at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in Mumbai. ‘Surat is the fourth Guided Missile Destroyer of P15B class, while ‘Udaygiri’ is the second Stealth Frigate of P17A class. Both warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at MDL, Mumbai.
He described the warships as an embodiment of the government’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the country’s maritime capability, with a focus on achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’, at a time when the world was witnessing disruption in the global supply chain due to Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“The Indo-Pacific region is important for the economy of the whole world. India is a responsible maritime stakeholder in the region. We support consensus-based principles and peaceful, open, rule-based and stable maritime order,” Rajnath said.
The minister was of the view that the ever-evolving security scenario in the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region would demand an even more important role of the Indian Navy in the times to come. He called for devising policies which focus on bolstering the country’s presence in the region, its role during disasters, economic well-being and carrying forward the foreign policies.
He also praised the Indian Navy for playing a crucial role in carrying forward the government’s policies such as Act-East, besides strengthening relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries.
”If a country wants to safeguard its national interests, it should project its military prowess in areas far beyond the mainland. If a country has aspirations to become a regional or global power, it is necessary to develop a strong Naval force. The government is making all efforts in this direction. We want to make a strong, secure and prosperous India, which is recognised as a global power,” said Rajnath.
Asserting that global security, border disputes and maritime dominance have led nations around the world to modernise their military, he exhorted the public and the private sectors to make full use of the capabilities by taking advantage of the government’s policies and contribute towards making India an indigenous shipbuilding hub. He assured of all possible support of the government in this endeavour.